Dubai teenager Rayhan Thomas aims to follow up first Mena Golf Tour win with victory in the Sheikh Maktoum Dubai Open
DUBAI // Rayhan Thomas will be aiming to follow up last week’s success at the Dubai Creek Open when he tees it up at the Sheikh Maktoum Dubai Open on Monday.
Thomas showed he could handle the pressure of competing on the Mena Golf Tour when he defeated England’s Luke Joy in a play-off to become the first amateur to win on the Mena Golf Tour last week.
• Dubai teenager Rayhan Thomas becomes first amateur to win a Mena Golf Tour event
• Read John McAuley’s profile of Rayhan Thomas
In the process, the leading UAE amateur also became the youngest winner on the tour at 16 years, nine months and 24 days, eclipsing the record of Thriston Lawrence of South Africa, who was 18 years, 11 months and one day old when he won the Ras Al Khaimah Classic in 2015.
It was fitting that Thomas, who is supported by the Sheikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, achieved the feat to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the foundation that strives to identify and nurture the talented Mena nationals and expatriates with the aim of producing a future generation of champions.
Thomas takes his place among the 121-player field that includes 27 amateurs alongside four leading Emirati amateurs — Hassan Al Musharrekh, Saif Thabet, Ahmed Skaik and Rashid Hamood.
The event will offer the UAE amateurs another opportunity to iron out some of the kinks in their game in the run-up to the Eisenhower Trophy in Mexico from September 21-24.
Mohammed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the Mena Tour, thanked players for their overwhelming response to the tournament. “It’s great see UAE national team members, in particular, sign up for the event. We need all the support that we can get from the region’s federations for the overall development of the game.
“The experience that the region’s amateurs will gain from competing alongside professionals will hold them in good stead for their future regional and international engagements,” he added.
“We are fortunate to have the backing of major golf clubs like Al Badia that play a crucial role in the success of an event. Again, they have done a great job in presenting the course in fantastic condition and we look forward some exciting golf.”
Also in the field will be Joshua White, the winner of the tour’s Order of Merit title in 2014, along with fellow Englishmen Zane Scotland, Lee Corfield, Jake Shepherd and Joy, who between them combine for 19 victories on the Mena Golf Tour.
Spearheading the challenge in the Mena Division for the Sheikh Maktoum Golf Foundation award will be Morocco’s Faycal Serhgini, who leads the region’s Order of Merit ahead of his compatriot Younes El Hassani.
Order of merit standings:
1. Zane Scotland (Scotland) $27,671 (Dh101,629)
2. Craig Hinton (England) $17,407
3. Luke Joy (England) $16,888
4. Andrew Marshall (England) $16,172
5. Antonio Costa Chile) $15,296
1. Rayhan Thomas (India) 205 points
2. Benjamin David (England) 76
3. Ben Alexander (Scotland) 55
4. Edward Holland (England) 52
5. Yassine Touhami (Morocco) 52
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Published: September 11, 2016 04:00 AM