UAE golfers given chance to play in Equatorial Guinea

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Luke Joy represented the UAE last year.

Professional golfers from the UAE have a unique chance to secure their place in the $150,000 3e Actuaries Open in Equatorial Guinea through the DSA Architects ‘Road to Mongomo’ Qualifier which takes place at Al Badia Golf Club on Thursday September 22.

The qualifier, which is presented by Worldwide Golf, is open to any professional golfer. Apart from a prize fund of Dh8,000, the top five finishers in the qualifier will win an all-expenses paid trip to Equatorial Guinea to compete in the 3e Actuaries Open on December 8-11.

Abu Dhabi-based MENA Tour and Asian Tour player Luke Joy blazed the trail for his fellow UAE pros when he accepted an invite to play in the 2015 tournament, where he finished fourth.

Joy expressed his delight that more of the region’s golfers are being given the chance to follow in his footsteps and said: “The 3e Actuaries Open was a fantastic event to attend and I know it will be even bigger and better for 2016.

“I’m really looking forward to playing the course again as it’s a great layout and will be great to see some other professionals joining me from the UAE.”

Olawale Opayinka, the tournament host of 3e Actuaries Open, said: “As we continue to grow the professional game in Equatorial Guinea and Africa, we are thrilled that this year we will be joined by more professional golfers from the UAE like Luke. Our hearts remain wide open to welcome all to Mongomo and we believe it will be a very rewarding experience for those who make it.”

The entry fee of Dh195 includes F&B. For registration, contact Luke Plumb on 056 792 0383, or e-mail [email protected].

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Marshall saw off strong competition.

Marshall conjured up a piece of magic at the first extra hole, the par-5 18th, to see off fellow Englishman Adam Sagar at Al Badia Golf Club.

Two shots in front overnight, Marshall shot a final round 73 to finish eight-under for the tournament and force the playoff after Sagar carded a clubhouse target 68.

Day one leader Younes El Hassani of Morocco was one of four men sharing third on six, joining Sixto Casabona-navarro of Spain, Fredrik Lindblom of Sweden and Chile’s Antonio Costa.

The day, however, belonged to Marshall who picked up a $9,000 cheque alongside the trophy.

“It feels nice to get the job done. I played quite nicely, but my putting wasn’t up to the mark, missed quite a few short ones coming home,” said Marshall.

“I needed to birdie the final hole to win in regulation, but my aggressive approach didn’t pay off. I chipped out of the bunker well, but missed the ensuing putt by a whisker.

“Also, hot and humid conditions made things a bit difficult and then there was the pressure of holding on to the lead.

“I am loving this little run on the MENA Golf Tour. If I can keep the momentum going it will be great.”

Chile’s Matias Calderon upstaged Indian starlet Rayhan Thomas for the leading amateur award, finishing on his own in seventh at five under. Thomas, who won the Dubai Creek Open last week, had to settle for a share of ninth at three under.

“I struggled with my putting in the opening round, but played really well over the next two days. Certainly, proud of my work during the week,” said Calderon.

Morocco’s El Hassani won the MENA Division for professionals while Saudi Arabia’s Othman Almulla took the honours in the amateur category, finishing one shot ahead of his fellow countryman Khalid Attieh.

The MENA Golf Tour travels to the Els Club Dubai next week for the Golf Citizen Classic, starting September 19.

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Milkha Singh and Lahiri congratulate Thomas

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Rayhan Thomas.

Dubai-based 16-year-old Rayhan Thomas has received support from some of the finest names in Indian professional golf as he bids to win his second straight MENA Golf Tour title at the Sheikh Maktoum Open in Al Badia Golf Club Wednesday.

Thomas became the first amateur, as well as the youngest winner, in the history of the MENA Golf Tour last week when he won the Dubai Creek Open.

And Wednesday, he goes into the final round of the Sheikh Maktoum Open in sole second place, just two shots behind leader Andrew Marshall of England.

On Tuesday, after Thomas completed his four-under par 68 round, received messages from Jeev Milkha Singh and Anirban Lahiri.

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