UAE nationals prepare for the GCC Golf Championship

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UAE U15s and U18s will soon participate in a four-week training regime ahead of the 2017 GCC Golf Championship.

Hosted in Saudi Arabia, the tournament will take place from April 11-16.

Working alongside the Jumeirah Golf Estates, the European Tour Performance Institute and Emirates Golf Federation have devised this programme to help players mentally prepare and perform at their best in anticipation of the championship.

While official championship roster announcements are pending, nine young golfers will take part in this preparatory programme.

The Director of Instruction at the Jumeirah Golf Estates-European Tour Performance Institute, Mark Gregson-Walters said he is “excited to be part of the 18 & under and the 15 and under teams final preparation before the GCC Golf Championship.”

He continued: “We have witnessed the teams’ hard work and enthusiasm when it comes to practice over the past months.

“We have a vast amount of experience at the European Tour Performance Institute, which we can share with the team to refine their games and prepare for the upcoming event in Saudi Arabia.”

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WATCH: Highlights of Sharjah Senior Golf Masters

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The inaugural Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq reached a thrilling conclusion as South Africa’s Chris Williams claimed his first title in six years at the first hole of a sudden-death play-off against Englishman Gary Marks.

“Words fail me. After being eight years on the Tour and finally getting my second win after all these years is just amazing,” said Williams, whose last win came at the Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters.

“I’ve been playing well and scoring well in South Africa leading up to this event, playing in as many pro-ams as I could to keep my game sharp. So that gave me a lot of confidence before this week.”

Like all of the players this week, Williams was highly impressed by the Peter Harradine-designed course at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club – the first time a Senior Tour event had been played on a nine-hole layout.
“The course was amazing, the fairways where very good and the greens were magnificent,” said the 57 year old.








“Everybody I’ve spoken to enjoyed playing this golf course. We didn’t know how a nine-hole course was going to work but it’s been tremendous and it really gives you food for thought.”

The event also marked the first time the European Senior Tour had ever visited the emirate of Sharjah and the organisers could scarcely have hoped for a more captivating final day.


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Thomas sees silver lining in cruel missed cut

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Encouraging signs: Rayhan Thomas.

The Dubai-based teenager, now ranked India’s No1 amateur, shot rounds of six-over par 78 and three-over par 75 to finish on nine-over par at the halfway stage.

Play was suspended yesterday due to darkness after a second straight day of interruption due to a thunderstorm. All the players playing in the afternoon group were yet to complete their rounds.

The cut, on what is proving to be a very difficult Gary Player course at DLF Golf & Country Club, is expected to fall at five-over par.

“I must say I am a little disappointed to miss the cut, but I played super solid this week. I did hit the ball very solid. If they did my proximity to the hole stat, I think I would be in the top-five of the field,” said 17-year-old Thomas, who finished tied 60th in Omega Dubai Desert Classic last month.

“But in the future, if I have to make a choice of playing badly and missing the cut, or to play like this and miss the cut, I’d much prefer the second option.

“I really had one bad hole, the 18th where I hit two bad drives and it cost me five shots for the two rounds with a double and a triple, which made all the difference. It is a par-5 hole, so I’d expect to make a birdie there.

“And I did not make any putt over the two days. The greens were tricky, but my putter went surprisingly cold.”

Thomas however saw the silver lining in the tough test that he endured.

“I really enjoyed my first Indian Open. The golf course was interesting. It was very tough and in great condition. I think I am going to find the UAE courses so much more easier when I come back,” he said.

“It is so different from the course we have back home. The slightest of mis-hits, if you get into the bushes, or find water, can result in a big number. There were times you felt like you saved a shot if you made a bogey after getting into some of these spots.”

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