European Challenge Tour’s top three prepare for season finale in Ras Al Khaimah

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Challenge Tour No1 Joachim B Hansen, Frenchman Victor Perez and Finland’s Kalle Samooja ger ready for the season's final event.

The top three players on the European Challenge Tour’s Road to Ras Al Khaimah let their hair down ahead of the season-ending Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour grand final when they visited the picturesque Al Wadi Nature Reserve in Ras Al Khaimah.

Challenge Tour No1 Joachim B Hansen, Frenchman Victor Perez and Finland’s Kalle Samooja are going head-to-head at Al Hamra Golf Club from Wednesday in a bid to finish the season as Challenge Tour No1 but the three men came together under the scorching UAE sun to hit some balls into the stunning Al Wadi Nature Reserve.

The reserve, which spans 1,235 acres within Wadi Khadeja, is famed for its natural beauty and wildlife and welcomes guests from across the world who long to experience the sights and sounds of nature in the northern emirate.

As well as the fantastic views, guests can also enjoy a range of activities with falconry shows, camel and horse riding and catch and release fishing all being held in the reserve.

“I had a lot of fun today. It was great to see a bit more of Ras Al Khaimah on what is a very special week for me,” said Hansen.

“I am staying in downtown Ras Al Khaimah this week, which I’m really enjoying,” added Samooja who won the Hainan Open earlier this month. “To come down and see the Al Wadi Nature Reserve has been another fantastic experience.”

Ras Al Khaimah boasts plenty of adventurous activities for thrill seekers to get their adrenaline fix in and around the stunning Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest mountain range.

Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “High profile events such as the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour grand final also help us attract an increasing number of international visitors and UAE residents who also want to experience everything Ras Al Khaimah has to offer.”

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UAE national team golfers' lifetime playing experience at Challenge Tour grand final

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Four UAE national team golfers will enjoy a once in a lifetime playing experience at the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour grand final next month.

They will go head-to-head at the stunning Al Hamra Golf Club in the Ras Al Khaimah National Matchplay Challenge, being played on the second day of the season-ending tournament, November 1.

The two teams competing will be made up of one senior and one junior national team player with Saif Thabet (Abu Dhabi) and 14-year-old Obaid Al Heloo (Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club) taking on Ahmed Skaik (Address Montgomerie) and 16-year-old Rashid Al Emadi (Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club) in the 18 hole betterball matchplay gross event.

Scratch golfers Thabet and Skaik both recently impressed at the 38th Pan Arab Golf Championship for the UAE team where they finished fourth out of 12 countries while Skaik secured a highly impressive fifth in the individual category.

Junior golfers Al Heloo and Al Emadi will also be representing the country in two week’s time as the two make their way to Morocco for the Junior Pan Arab Golf Championship.

“It’s going to be a great experience playing on the same course as the Challenge Tour stars,” said Al Heloo.

Al Hamra Golf Club.

Al Hamra Golf Club.

“It will be nice to watch them play first hand and learn how they approach the golf course before we get our Ras Al Khaimah National Matchplay Challenge underway on Thursday.”

The four golfers will be in for a stern challenge as they play the same course setup as the next generation of golfing stars and are set to be treated to the best-conditioned course to date after all 40 course bunkers were renovated; fairway contours reinstated, tee complexes realigned and greens expanded following recommendations from world-renowned golf course architect Peter Harradine earlier this year.

The Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour grand final, which is only open to the top 45 golfers on the 2018 Road to Ras Al Khaimah, will take place from Wednesday, October 31, to Saturday, November 3, with players looking to secure one of the 15 coveted European Tour cards available for next season which are awarded to the top 15 players in the rankings following the conclusion of play.

Khalid Mubarak Al Shamsi, secretary general of the Emirates Golf Federation said: “To have the Ras Al Khaimah National Matchplay Challenge as part of the Challenge Tour grand final is a great opportunity for our nationaltTeam players.

“It will give our players the chance to see and play alongside some of the world’s future stars. The Emirates Golf Federation would like to thank the Challenge Tour and its officials for assisting us with this match. We are looking forward to seeing who comes out on top of both events”

The Ras Al Khaimah National Matchplay Challenge will tee off at 11:20 on Thursday, November 1, 30 minutes after the final Challenge Tour group, with the winning team being invited back on the final day to receive their trophies.

“This is another exciting local initiative that will help grow the game of golf in the region,” said Nick Tarratt, Director, European Tour Dubai Office.

“When events like the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour grand final come to town we want to help out the local community instead of just being a visiting circus for a week.

“This initiative between the European Challenge Tour and the Emirates Golf Federation will be a rewarding and unforgettable experience for all four UAE national golfers and we hope that one day one of them will be competing for European Tour playing privileges at the season-ending event on the Challenge Tour calendar.”

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Zurich offers unique DP World Tour Championship experience with Tommy Fleetwood

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Leading insurance company Zurich has become the latest sponsor of the DP World Tour Championship and is to give golf lovers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain a private golf session with reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood.

The global firm will join the growing list of sponsors of the European Tour’s season-ending grand finale and they are to mark the start of a three-year agreement by offering 10 competition winners the chance to get up close and personal with Zurich Golf Ambassador Fleetwood at next month’s tournament in Dubai.

Hosted by Zurich, the European No1 will conduct the private golf clinic at the European Tour Performance Institute on Wednesday, November 14, the day before the Race to Dubai’s top 60 players tee off for the opening round of the DP World Tour Championship.

“I’m looking forward to the climax of the season at the DP World Tour Championship and it will be great to pass on some tips to the competition winners attending the clinic,” said World No12 Fleetwood.

“Zurich have been wonderful sponsors – it’s like one big family – and I think it’s fantastic that they are giving this opportunity to amateur golfers. I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun.”

Nick Tarratt, Director European Tour International Dubai Office, added: “We are excited to welcome Zurich on board as a sponsor for the DP World Tour Championship.

“With Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia and Jamie Donaldson all being Zurich Golf Ambassadors there is already a strong connection between Zurich and the European Tour.

“We look forward to enhancing their commitment to golf at the DP World Tour Championship and to creating a long-term year round partnership between our respective organisations.”

To win, golf lovers simply need to answer a simple question on the Zurich Middle East Facebook page.

The ‘Play with the best’ contest will run for four weeks and there are 10 spots up for grabs.

Each week, two winners will be picked at random, with four lucky winners being picked in the final week. The competition starts on Monday, 08 October.

The DP World Tour Championship takes place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 15-18.

Entry is free of charge.

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