Luke Joy looking to step up at Yas Links for Mena Tour’s Abu Dhabi Open

The Ascorp Golf Citizen Abu Dhabi Open will star on Sunday as the acclaimed Yas Links course in the UAE capital.
Luke Joy. Photo Courtesy / Mena Golf Tour
Luke Joy. Photo Courtesy / Mena Golf Tour

With two runner-up finishes in three weeks, Luke Joy will be hoping a victory is just around the corner as the Mena Golf Tour travels to award-winning Yas Links course for the first time for the Ascorp Golf Citizen Abu Dhabi Open starting Sunday.

Playing on his home course will further add to the confidence of a player who boasts two wins on the tour, but fell short of adding more silverware this season, losing the Dubai Creek Open and the Golf Citizen Classic in play-offs.

The Englishman, 28, joins a strong field that features 14 winners on the tour, including Spain’s Carlos Balmaseda, who denied him the title last week with an eagle at the third extra hole.

“The goal is to eventually get into contention week in and week out and start winning golf tournaments,” Joy said.

“I feel like I am in the zone and I have the self-belief in my game which is the key. I am pretty familiar with conditions at Yas Links, but still you have to execute your shots and play as well as you can since the standard of golf on the Mena Tour is very high.”

Lining up as potential roadblocks to Joy’s quest include his fellow Englishmen Zane Scotland, Lee Corfield and Andrew Marshall, all multiple winners of the tour, and Balmaseda who will be looking to make it two in a row.

With two wins in three weeks, including one on the Spanish Pro tour, Balmaseda can expect another good result if he is able to carry the same form into Yas Links

“I will definitely try and give my best shot and see where that leaves me,” the Spaniard, 44, said.

With amateur order of merit leader Rayhan Thomas of India sitting out to prepare for the Asia Pacific Championship in Seoul next month, the division could see Matias Calderon of Chile, Daniel Hendry of Scotland and Brazil’s Tiago Lobo duel for honours.

Designed by Kyle Phillips, the first links course in the region, Yas Links was ranked No 1 in the Middle East by Golf Digest this year and 46th in the world.

“We are extremely excited to have this opportunity to host the first Mena Golf Tour event at our course,” Howie Roberts, general manager at Yas, said.

“We will strive to deliver a memorable week. Events like this will turn the region into a golfing force.”

Mohammed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the Mena Golf Tour, thanked the Ascorp management and the players for their continued support to the tour.

“Yas Links Abu Dhabi is a welcome addition to our host venues and we look forward to working closely with them to ensure the event is successful.”

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Published: September 25, 2016 04:00 AM

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