Dubai's Rayhan Thomas in action at prestigious Junior Invitational

Rayhan Thomas is ready for yet another incredible new chapter in his golfing odyssey.

Joy Chakravarty
by Joy Chakravarty
19th April 2017

article:19th April 2017

In form: Golf prodigy Thomas.
In form: Golf prodigy Thomas.

The Dubai-based 17-year-old is at Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, South Carolina, just minutes away from arguably one of the most famous golf courses in the world, Augusta National Golf Club.

Thomas, India’s No1 amateur player who won multiple Emirates Golf Federation Orders of Merit, is taking part in the Junior Invitational, considered by many as the most prestigious junior golf tournament in the world.

Thomas is one of the 54 leading junior players of the world invited to play the 54-hole tournament, which starts on Thursday.

On a high after playing three European Tour events in quick succession earlier in the year, and becoming only the second UAE-based amateur ever to make the cut at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Thomas is excited about his next tournament.

“It is a great honour to be invited for the tournament. The Junior Invitational has a very strict invitation policy, and I am happy that I made the field,” said Thomas, who broke into the top-100 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking, before dropping down to 123 this week.

Last year was outstanding for Thomas, winning the Scottish Boys’ Stroke Play Championship, before his much-talked about triumph at the Dubai Creek Open on the MENA Golf Tour.

“Obviously, I want to do well in the tournament, because this is more my age group, and these are my peers who are the best in the world (the tournament is only open to players aged 19 and under),” said Thomas.

Can't wait to get started at the @juniorinvitational at Sage Valley. 🦍 #titleist #sent #silverback

A post shared by Rayhan Thomas (@ray_jthomas) on

“But I will start on Thursday just as I have started every tournament in the past – go there with no expectation and just try to play to the best of my abilities.

“I have worked very hard over this past one month with my coach Justin Parsons and I am feeling good about my game.”

Having had a couple of outings at the stunning Tom Fazio layout, Thomas was all praise for the 7437-yard Sage Valley.

“It probably is one of the best golf courses that I have ever played. It is just a beautiful setting, almost as beautiful as Augusta National. They have tried to give it a similar set-up too,” said Thomas.

“The greens are lightning quick and fairways are tight. Like at The Masters, the premium really is where you hit your shots and knowing where to miss it. It’s going to be a fantastic challenge.”

Thomas starts his first round in the company of American Nicholas Lyerly and Korean Jeewon Park at 18:10 UAE time on Thursday.



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