While all the talk after round one should have been about Rory McIlroy’s comeback and Tommy Fleetwood’s scintillating form, the name pursed on everybody’s lips was rising golf star Oscar Murphy.
The 13-year-old Irishman, who moved to the UAE capital three years ago, won a local tournament and as part of his prize, earned the opportunity to tee off alongside his idol McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
On Thursday, the Tyrone-born native joined the star-studded group of world No1 Dustin Johnson, Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood and McIlroy.
In front of a packed 15th hole at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Murphy struck a stunning tee-shot on the 177-yard par-3 – beating Fleetwood and Johnson.
“It was unbelievable,” Oscar said. “I got to walk up to the green with them and I was closer than Dustin Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood but Rory beat me to it.”
Speaking after his opening round 69, former World No1 McIlroy said he was surprised to see Oscar inside the ropes having previously met the youngster at the tournament in the capital.
He said: “He’s been following me since the 2011 PGA Championship in Atlanta and he’s at every round I play here, I feel like he’s my little mascot. He’s waiting at the back of every green and every tee box.
“Was a little surprised to see him on the tee there. I didn’t expect him to be inside the ropes today but he hit a really great shot, a really good little swing, one for the future.”
Although Christmas Day is over for another year, you can still take advantage of some fantastic festive golf promotions at Abu Dhabi City Golf Club (ADCGC) this month. Their Christmas Crackers offers have been a big hit since it was launched and with it being available for purchase until the end of December, you can see for yourself why it’s highly rated.
For Dh599, you can receive two hours of coaching under qualified PGA professionals, saving you a 20 per cent discount, while if you want four hours of coaching (at a 33 per cent discount), that can be bought at Dh999.
With the promotions valid for three months from the date of purchase, David Taylor, head professional at ADCGC, says it’s a great way for golfers to enjoy the game at less cost. “Our Christmas Crackers promotions have always been a success here at Abu Dhabi City Golf Club as it offers all of our guests the chance to save money and give the gift of golf over the festive season,” he said.
“We see lots of our regular players inviting and introducing their friends, family and work colleagues to this great game, which can only be good for the game.
“This offer also allows golfers to make sure they play their best golf ever going into the new year. With the cooler season and the course in fantastic shape, there is no better time to start playing better golf.”
He added: “Our vision at Abu Dhabi City Golf Club is ‘We Grow Golf’ and this promotion is just another way to get more and more people playing golf.
“We hope to attract as many golfers down to our outstanding facilities as possible. We have lots of exciting plans in place for 2018 and firmly believe this will be the best year yet for golf in Abu Dhabi.
“We hope our Christmas Cracker promotion offers the opportunity for people to come down and give golf a try if they have never played before.
“Or for our regular golfer to get their game in the best possible shape for the New Year.
“Abu Dhabi City Golf Club caters for all levels of golfer and whether you’re looking to treat a loved one or maybe treat yourself, this promotion would be perfect for you.”
What: Abu Dhabi City Golf Club Christmas Cracker promotion
Where: Abu Dhabi City Golf Club
When: On-going. Promotions to be bought before December 31
Contact: For more information, visit www.adcitygolf.com or call +971 2 445 9600.
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.”