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.
The UAE national golf team will kick off their campaign at the 37th Arab Golf Championship on Wednesday at the newly-opened Ayla Golf Club in Aqaba, Jordan.
Over 52 players from the the Arab Golf Federation will compete in the four-day event with Khalid Yousuf, Ahmed Skaik, and Abdulwahed Al Qasem representing the UAE.
The Ayla Golf Club is an 18-hole par 72 championship golf course designed by the legendary Greg Norman.
During the first week of October, the Ayla Golf Club hosted their first professional event which was the MENA Tour’s “Jordan’s Ayla Golf Championship”.
Both Yousuf and Skaik played in the MENA Tour event which provided some much-needed course experience for this Arab Golf Championship.
The UAE team are targeting the top spot in Jordan having had a solid three-month preparation period that included a strong practice schedule and appearances at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Golf Championship in New Zealand and the 2017 Nomura Cup in Malaysia.
Yousuf and Skaik will be looking to battle at the top of the leaderboard in the Individual Category, while Al Qasem playing in his first Arab Golf Championship will be looking to provide a strong third score for the Team Category.
The UAE Team will be accompanied by Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi (Emirates Golf Federation Chairman and Arab Golf Federation Chairman), Adel Zarouni (Emirates Golf Federation Vice Chairman and Arab Golf Federation Vice Chairman), and Khalid Mubarak Al Shamsi (Emirates Golf Federation Secretary General).
The Championship is run over four rounds (November 29 – December 2), the best three scores in a team of four are counted toward each round. Individual scores of players from each country are also recognized for individual gold, silver, and bronze medals.
The UAE Junior and Ladies National Golf Teams will travel to Tunisia to compete in the 2017 Junior and Ladies Arab Golf Championship this month.
This three-day event will have three different representing divisions – 18 and under, 15 and under, and ladies which will take place at the El Kantaoui Golf Club.
This event will be the 18th edition of the Junior Arab Golf Championship and the ninth edition of the Ladies Arab Golf Championship that falls under the Arab Golf Federation. With over eight countries and three divisions, the championship will host more than 60 players.
The El Knataoui Golf Club has two courses that are set along the Gulf of Hammamet. With expected rain and cool weather, the teams will be tested by the elements but should create a fun and challenging weekend.
For the boys divisions, representing the UAE and playing on the 18 and under team will be Mohamed Al Hajeri and Mohamed Saeed Abdulla.
Al Hajeri finished playing in the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship in New Zealand three weeks ago and will be looking to use that experience as a boost of confidence heading into the weekend.
Coming off a gold medal victory at the GCC Golf Championship back in April, the 15 and under team represented by Obaid Al Heloo, Rashid Al Emadi, and Khaled Al Mutawa will be heading into the championship with high expectations. All three boys have continued to work hard over the summer while aiming to win again on this bigger stage.
As always the ladies division will be full of talented teams. For the UAE team, Reema Al Heloo will be leading the way and with the support of Hamda Al Suwaidi and long-time veteran Dr. Rabab Al Haj. The ladies team will anticipate a strong showing.
The three-day event will have team and individual winners in each division. For the team category, the final score will consist of the top two gross scores, out of three players each round, totaled after three rounds. The individual category will be scored as the best individual gross score from each division.