The Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq will return to the schedule from March 8-10 to kickstart the 2018 Staysure Tour season in the UAE.
Formerly known as the European Senior Tour, UK-based insurance company Staysure have become the first title sponsor of the over-50s circuit in a landmark partnership for the European Tour, and the first event will be staged in Sharjah.
South Africa’s Chris Williams won the first edition of the event in 2017, securing a first prize of $70,000 after defeating England’s Gary Marks in a play-off. Williams finished second on the Order of Merit that season.
Held once again at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club, the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters is the only event in European Tour history to have been played over a nine-hole golf course.
David MacLaren, Head of the Staysure Tour, said: “We were privileged to be a part of the first ever professional golf tournament held in Sharjah, and we were delighted to return to the UAE, a region synonymous with world-class golf.
“Last year’s tournament was a landmark event for both the Tour and for Sharjah, as the first professional event held in the Emirate and the first ever European Tour event played on a nine-hole course.
“This year’s edition will be of equal importance as we mark the start of our relationship with Staysure as the new title sponsors of the Tour, and begin our 2018 schedule.”
Martin Duff, Director of Golf at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club, said: “Everyone at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club is both delighted and excited to be hosting the Staysure Tour as we look to build on a hugely successful inaugural event.
The theme last year was very much about ‘firsts’ and to a degree this seems set to continue as we proudly host the first ever event on the Staysure Tour.
“Our golf course received rave reviews from all involved last year and, with further developments carried out over the summer. We are certain the 7337 yard layout will once again attract significant praise. One thing is for certain – the professionals will offer a personable and close up experience rarely witnessed by fans in top level professional golf.”
Angel Yin displayed her vast potential and power off the tee as well as a soft touch around the greens in a three-way play-off to capture the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic in a riveting finish at Emirates Golf Club on Saturday.
The 19-year-old Los Angeles native saved par after finding the water on the closing hole in a bogey-free final round of 67 to match the clubhouse target of a 15-under-par set by South Korea’s In-Kyung Kim and Celine Herbin of France.
Long-hitting Yin, who averages 276.75 yards off the tee, and Kim birdied the first extra hole (the 18th) to stay in the hunt while Herbin was eliminated after finding the water with her third shot. A tap-in birdie on the drivable second playoff hole (254-yard, 17th) saw Yin clinch the issue as the South Korean agonizingly missed her birdie effort in the first ever play-off since the tournament’s inception in 2006.
“I feel amazing. Actually, it’s my first major tour professional win, so this is big for me,” said an elated Yin after receiving the winner’s trophy from Hend Bilselah and Walid Al Attar of Emirates Global Aluminium.
“It’s been a long week and I’m happy to be here in Dubai for the second time. I had a great time last year and I’m happy to be here again,” said Yin, who tied for 10th in the event in 2017.
“Two days ago, I went to the aquarium in the Dubai Mall and today I’m going to see penguins with my friends — yes! I loved the course and it was in great shape,” said the rising star who became the second American after Lexi Thompson to win the season-ending Ladies European Tour event.
— Emirates Golf Club (@EmiratesGC) December 9, 2017
Herbin, who shot a final round of 64, wasn’t too disappointed at being eliminated with a double-bogey on the 18th hole after finding the water with her third shot.
She said: “I mean, it was really a bonus for me to in this play-off today. It was an awesome round for me, my personal best, minus eight and I had nine birdies. I enjoyed it a lot today.
“I played very well, really, but so I spent a little bit too much time without playing. I finished earlier and I lost a little bit of rhythm, I would say. I could feel it on the drive and even the 7-iron on the lay-up.
“The sand wedge went out of the clubface, but today is a very nice day for me. It’s nice to finish well in this tournament, one of the biggest of the LET and I’m very happy.”
Kim, the 2009 champion, admitted that she was disappointed to have missed her birdie putt from six feet on the 17th hole in the play-off, but felt that she had given it her best.
She said: “You know, just getting myself in contention on the back nine, that was my goal. I was able to get into the play-off. I think that was the best scenario that I could ever have ask for before teeing off. I’m sure that a lot of girls played well today, and we all have a similar story. The course was set up for more aggressive play, but I think I took good advantage of it.”
Overnight leader Anne Van Dam fired a final round of 71 and ended two strokes back in fourth place, with Aditi Ashok, Charley Hull and Pernilla Lindberg tied for fifth.
Thidapa Suwannapura was eighth, while Olivia Cowan and Michele Thomson completed the top 10 spots.
Georgia Hall, who had already wrapped up the Order of Merit, tied for 21st place and a tie for 66th was enough for Camille Chevalier to end the season as the leading first year professional and be crowned as the LET Rookie of the Year.
UAE’s Khalid Yousuf is encouraged by his tied fourth-place finish at the Arab Golf Championship in Aqaba, Jordan last weekend, which saw him become the first Emirati golfer to shoot under par in the history of the event.
The UAE national team finish ninth overall at the Ayla Golf Club with Yousuf putting together a promising performance among 52 golfers from 11 Arab countries.
With rounds of 69 – 75 – 73 – 69 for a championship total of 286, Yousuf finished only four shots back from the leader and ended his championship two-under-par.
شاهد ملخص فعاليات النسخة ال37 من البطولة العربية للجولف والتي أقيمت نهاية الأسبوع الماضي على ملعب آيله للجولف بمدينة العقبة بتنظيم من الاتحاد الاردني للجولف وبمشاركة 12 دولة عربية #البطولة_العربية_للجولف #معلب_آيلة_للجولف #الاردن #جولف @AG_Federation @jordaniangolf pic.twitter.com/kwk5UCRXvf
— Jordan Olympic (JOC) (@JordanOlympic) December 4, 2017
The tournament witnessed a thrilling finish with Moroccan duo Dahmane Soufiane and Omar Ayoub both shooting final rounds of 66, but it was the former who clinched the individual title from his fellow countryman with a total of six-under-par 282. Issa Abu Al Ella of Egypt finished third.
“It’s encouraging to see the level of Arab golf improving each year and it’s always nice to see other Arab golfers doing so well,” said Yousuf. “I was extremely happy with my game this weekend considering the windy and cold conditions.
“The fairways and greens were hard but my approach shots were on target and my recovery shots allowed me to make a lot of up-and-downs. To shoot two under par and to be the first UAE national to shoot under-par at an Arab Golf Championship is a great honour.”
The UAE team finished ninth overall in the team category out of 11 teams, with Morocco walking away with the team title. Ahmed Skaik, who was UAE’s second-best player, had a slow start but finished strong with rounds of 86 – 78 – 77 – 74 for a championship total of 315.
Competing in his first Arab Golf Championship, Abdulwahed Al Qasem had the pressure of providing the team with its third and final score each day. Al Qasem finished with a total of 386 for the championship.
Tunisia took home team silver while Egypt won the bronze.
Moving forward the national team will turn their focus to the Emirates Golf Federation Order of Merit events. The next international event will be the GCC Golf Championship taking place in March 2018.