Zane Scotland will need to recreate the brilliance of his emphatic victory at the Ghala Valley Open in Oman to enliven the Order of Merit race as the MENA Golf Tour reaches its business end with the Golf Citizen Masters Al Ain which commences at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club today.
The 32-year-old Englishman leapfrogged to second place with $15,763 (Dh57,850) in earnings for the season, but will require another strong finish, if not a win, to close the gap to runaway leader and compatriot Luke Joy.
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In contrast, the Order of Merit race for the Sheikh Maktoum Golf Foundation Award recognises the performance of the region’s top three professionals and amateurs from their respective divisions in each event. And the final leg towards these awards promises a thrilling finish.
With just a little over $1,000 (Dh3,676) separating Faycal Serghini and Ahmed Marjane, the exciting Moroccan duo are in with a shout of claiming the prestigious title.
The 22-year-old Marjane created history when he became the first player from the Arab world to win a MENA Golf Tour event, a feat he achieved at the RAK Classic earlier this month.
England’s James Yeomans and Scotland’s Daniel Kay consolidated their positions in the Order of Merit for amateurs after jointly topping the division on two-under 214.
Kay, who aced the par-3, in the second round at Ghala Valley Golf Club, is placed second with 135 points, 53 points behind leader James Allan of England with Yeomans occupying solo third on 123 points.
The Al Ain event will see 54 players, including nine amateurs, contest for honours before the Tour reaches its climax with the Tour Championship the following week.
Zane Scotland comfortably kept up his dominance to chalk up an impressive three-shot shot victory in the MENA Golf Tour’s Ghala Valley Open yesterday.
Starting the day four shots ahead, the 32-year-old Englishman closed with a four-under 68 to move to 11 under and leave his opponents trailing in his wake.
Spain’s Carlos Balmaseda matched the day’s best score of a 67 to finish runner-up on eight under, two shots ahead of Morocco’s Faycal Serghini and three of England’s Christopher Cannon.
But the day belonged to Scotland, who made a bogey-birdie-bogey start, but had things pretty much in control thereafter as he played the final 15 holes five under to seal his seventh victory on the Tour.
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“It feels great to win again on the Tour. I played really well on all three days,” said Scotland after receiving the winner’s trophy and a cheque for $9,000 (Dh33,030) from Ibrahim Al Wahaibi, vice president of Ghala Valley Golf Club in Oman.
“I had an up-and-down start, but things started falling in place as the round wore on. When I got to 10-under on the 12th, I knew victory was in sight if I didn’t make any major mistake.”
Spain’s Balmaseda also came alive on the back nine with two birdies and an eagle, but his late rally was not good catch to the runaway leader.
“I think Zane really played well and deserved to win,” Balmaseda said.
Morocco’s Serghini, who finished fourth last year here, carded a final round 69 to take solo third, a creditable performance which also won him the MENA Division for the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation Award, ahead of compatriots Ahmed Marjane and Amin Joudar.
England’s James Yeomans and Scotland’s Daniel Kay shared the honours in the amateur division, both finishing on two under while the Moroccan duo of Karim El Hali and Ayoub Lguirati jointly topped the MENA division in the same category.
Two-handicapper Tony Azoulay shot a fabulous one-under par gross round but that wasn’t enough to clinch him the top spot in the ninth round of the Cadillac Golf Cup League (CGCL).
That honour belonged to seven handicapper Rajinder Razdan, who was making his tournament debut. He shot a great round of 75 over the Faldo Course which won him the Stableford honour as well as the overall title under the modified scoring format of the league.
As per the Erado Strokeplay format, Razdan finished on six-under par and was one ahead of Azoulay, Markus Brake (6) and Tomi Karvonen (13).
Under Erado, four bad holes can be erased (changed into nett pars) from the total score (the decision to erase must be made before opening play on the next hole).
The league, backed by Cadillac, has its next event on Sunday, October 26. Anybody is welcome to join, but they need to have an official EGF handicap of at least 20 to play.