Dubai teenager Rayhan Thomas becomes first amateur to win a Mena Golf Tour event
The Dubai-based Indian teenager Rayhan Thomas provided some home cheer on Wednesday as he held his nerve in a play-off to prevail at the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, creating a little bit of history in the process.
Thomas, 16, became the first amateur to win a Mena Golf Tour event when he won the Dubai Creek Open. Thomas triumphed in a play-off as he had finished level after 54 holes with England’s Luke Joy on 12 under. Third-place went to Australia’s Benjamin Eccles, who finished two shots off the pace.
Thomas had gone into the final day as joint-leader on 10 under with Englishman Jake Shepherd, and his round of 69, following scores of 65 and 67 in the first two rounds, left him level with Joy, who struck a final round 66. In the play-off, Thomas bogeyed the first hole but that was enough as Joy put a shot into the water to double bogey.
Thomas had been runner-up in the event 12 months ago and was pleased to put go one better this time. “Winning it in the 50th event of the tour, and on my home course, too, made it special,” Thomas said of his success after receiving the winner’s trophy from Adel Zarouni, vice chairman of the Emirates Golf Federation.
“The only anxious moment I had was at the 18th, when my approach shot hit the rocks, nearly ending up in the water. But I managed to save par to get into the play-off,” he said. “Overall, I played steady golf and holed some nice putts, including one for birdie on the 15th from about 12 feet. It feels nice to get the job done this time around.”
It was third-placed Eccles’s first appearance in a Mena Golf Tour event, and the Australian’s strong finish with a final-round 63 sets him up for competing in the European Tour Qualifying School next week. Eccles, 21, said: “I birdied the first and then eagled the fourth and that kind of set the tone.”
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Published: September 7, 2016 04:00 AM