Keita Nakajima wins thrilling play-off to take Asia-Pacific title in Dubai

Emirati Ahmad Skaik returns from injury to fire level par 71 in final round

Keita Nakajima clinched the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in a thriller over Hong Kong’s Taichi Kho on the second play-off hole at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club on Saturday.

The No 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking shot a three-under-par 68 in the final round to match Kho, who carded a 64 in the third round and 65 in the next to finish on 14 under par.

The pair headed back to the 18th hole and at the second time of asking Kho found water with his second from a fairway bunker. Nakajima hit a superb drive, followed by a second to 20 feet and rolled it in to seal the victory with a birdie and become the third golfer from Japan to win the title.

The UAE’s sole representative in the last two rounds, Ahmad Skaik, could hold his head high after carding a level-par 71 on the final day.

The Emirati got off to a flyer, carding three birdies and a bogey in his opening four holes.

He hit back from a dropped shot on eight with another birdie on 10, but didn’t get the rub on the green with successive bogeys on 16 and 17, and settled for a four-over total of 288 and 42nd place, a more than respectable result after two months out with a number of injuries.

“I felt very good out there today, hitting good iron shots and making good putts,” he said.

“I’m pretty happy with my performance, I took it to the next level and hopefully I can keep it up.

“It is an honour for me to represent the country. I would like to inspire the ones coming up, my younger brother as well, so I hope I have been a decent role model this week.”

On his plans for the future, he added: “I’m planned to finish next semester and then maybe play six months to a year and hopefully turn professional if the time is right.”

Updated: November 7th 2021, 8:03 AM