Blomstrand wins Muscat Hills title on MENA Tour debut

Sport360 staff 06:57 22/10/2015
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Triumphant: Christofer Blomstrand.

Christofer Blomstrand’s sensational debut in the MENA Golf Tour ended with a podium finish on Wednesday as he won the inaugural Muscat Hills Golf Citizen Championship.

– Regional: Bhatia takes RAK Junior Open
– Abu Dhabi: Yas praised by A-P Confederation chairman
– MENA: Debutants lead at Muscat Hills Championship

Leading by two shots overnight, the 23-year-old Swede had the luxury of bogeying the final hole and still winning the tournament by one shot on 11-under par after his nearest challenger, Germany’s Julian Kunzenbacher, agonisingly missed a 16-footer for birdie.

Spain’s Xavier Puig fired a course record 66 to finish third on eight-under, one ahead of Morocco’s Younes El Hassani, Ryan Smith of Australia and Per Barth of Sweden.

With his game on cruise control, Blomstrand never relinquished his overnight lead and made putts when he needed to make to complete a brilliant win, his second since turning professional three years ago.

“It feels just incredible to win here. I had a great week. Every part of my game fell into place, which was good,” said Blomstrand after receiving the winner’s trophy from Mohamed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the MENA Golf Tour, and Ray Stopforth, director of golf at Muscat Hills and Country Club.

“I never really felt threatened and played my own game. I could smell the victory when I birdied the 16th. Standing on the 18th, I had a two-shot lead. Though I three-putted, it was still good enough to get the job done,” said the Swede, who shot a final-round 70.

Germany’s Kunzenbacher went for broke in the last few holes. The aggressive approach worked well on the 16th where he picked up a shot, but missed his birdie bid at the last which would have forced a play-off.

Morocco’s El Hassani closed with a 71 to win the MENA Division on seven-under, four clear of second-placed Amine Joudar as Amine El Malki, also of Morocco, carded a 69 to join his compatriot Ayoub Lguirati and India’s Rayhan Thomas in a three-way tie for the leading amateur award on one-under.

Know more about Sport360 Application

Recommended

Most popular

Related Sections

Cheng Jin puts Augusta dream aside for Nomura

Joy Chakravarty 06:48 22/10/2015
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Major talent: Cheng Jin.

Cheng Jin might have Augusta National on his mind but insists his immediate focus is on Abu Dhabi and China’s bid to finally win the Asia-Pacific Amateur Golf Team Championship.

– Regional: Bhatia takes RAK Junior Open
– Abu Dhabi: Yas praised by A-P Confederation chairman
– MENA: Debutants lead at Muscat Hills Championship

Jin will spearhead China’s tilt for a maiden Nomura Cup title at Yas Links Abu Dhabi starting on Thursday, fresh from winning the weather-shortened Asia Pacific individual amateur men’s title in Hong Kong earlier this month.

The victory earned the 17-year-old a dream start in next April’s Masters at Augusta National where he will trade blows with the world’s best professionals including defending champion Jordan Spieth.

It’s head-spinning stuff for one so young but the talented teen appears to be taking it all in his stride at Yas Links where 27, four-man teams tee it up today in the opening round of the 72-hole teams strokeplay event.

“Augusta is the dream of every golfer I guess and I think when I step there next year, it is just going to be so exciting,” Jin said.

“I’m excited about everything. Every round I play there, how the course is going to look like and the facilities and Augusta itself…everything. They are best players in the world so I’m just going to try to learn from them and enjoy the tournament and enjoy the time I play with them.”

For now, Jin is focused on leading China’s bid for their first Nomura Cup victory. It will be a monumental feat if China do win.

Australia have won a record 10 Nomura Cups, including seven of the last eight titles, so they are the firm favourites this week. Australia’s Trans-Tasman neighbours New Zealand, eight time champions Japan and Chinese Taipei all intend having a say in the outcome of the championship.

Jin certainly appears to have the game to put China in contention. His victory at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Hong Kong included a sizzling opening round, course-record 62 at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club. He followed it up with rounds of 68-69 for a one shot lead heading into the final round which was eventually abandoned.

But for now, Jin is focused on the Nomura Cup. He played at the last edition in Thailand in 2013 and won selection for the prestigious Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy on the back of his form there.

Jin isn’t predicting how China will perform at Yas Links, but is looking forward to the week.

“It’s my first time here in Abu Dhabi and I couldn’t wait to go out on the golf course,” he added. “I enjoy playing team events even though we don’t get to play them a lot, the kind of feeling you get from spending time with your teammates, it’s different from when you play individual events. I’m always proud to represent my country.”

The lowest three of four scores count towards the team total on each day of the 72-hole stroke-play tournament which is second only to the Eisenhower Trophy world amateur teams’ championship in terms of size and global stature.

Most popular

Related Sections

UAE in bullish mood ahead of the Nomura Cup at Yas

Sport360 staff 16:28 21/10/2015
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Yas Links Abu Dhabi will host the 27th Nomura Cup.

An intensive international build-up focused on improved biomechanics, fitness and mental game preparation has the United Arab Emirates in a bullish mood on the eve of the 27th Nomura Cup at Yas Links Abu Dhabi.

– Regional: Bhatia takes RAK Junior Open
– Abu Dhabi: Yas praised by A-P Confederation chairman
– MENA: Debutants lead at Muscat Hills Championship

UAE coach Greg Holmes has set Khalid Yousuf, Rashid Hamood, Abdulla Al Qubaisi and promising teen Ahmed Skaik the goal of being the top Arab nation at the Asia-Pacific Golf Team Championship being hosted by the Emirates Golf Federation.

It’s a lofty objective given the UAE’s recent fifth-place finish at GCC Championship in Kuwait last May. But with his top players back from military duty and a build-up that has seen the team play and train in Germany and at the European Tour Performance Institute in Terre Blanch, France, Holmes is looking for a much improved showing. 

“We’d definitely like to be at the top end of the Middle East table with the likes of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan [plus Iran and Lebanon],” said Holmes. “And if we could finish in the top half overall that would be really nice,” Holmes said.


“We’re obviously playing some very serious countries here…teams like Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Chinese Taipei, they pick from much bigger pools of talent and we haven’t had the U15 and U18 players pushing through to the senior level. We’re working on that now and have had some good results at the junior level and with our women’s programme.”

The UAE is now concentrating on extracting every last ounce of ability out of the players and Holmes is pleased with his team’s preparation so far.

“We’ve done a lot of work on our biomechanics and I have to say the guys are pretty fit as well. We’ve also done a lot on the mental game, our pre-shot routines, a lot of process work,” Holmes said.

“It’s about focusing on the shot at hand, the process and not worrying about the result. Now it’s time to take that out onto Yas Links. The last two days of practice has been great. They’re all hitting it pretty well, they’re all good ball strikers, but now it’s obviously about getting that going in the tournament.”

The 27th edition of the biennial Nomura Cup, featuring 27 four man teams, tees off tomorrow morning.

The lowest three of four scores count towards the team total on each day of the 72-hole stroke-play tournament which is second only to the Eisenhower Trophy world amateur teams’ championship in terms of size and global stature.

Most popular

Related Sections