Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge ready to make its mark on European Challenge Tour
DUBAI // The inaugural Ras Al Khaimah 2016 Golf Challenge, the penultimate event on this season’s European Challenge Tour, tees off this week with a number of notable names in the field.
The tournament, taking place at Al Hamra Golf Club from Wednesday to Saturday, features a 105-strong cast, including three-time European Tour winner Johan Edfors, rising local star Rayhan Thomas and a host of Mena Tour stalwarts.
In particular, Thomas will be one to watch. Last month, the UAE resident became the first amateur to win a Mena Tour event when he triumphed at the Dubai Creek Open aged 16. He has since climbed to 132nd in the amateur world rankings.
“Although this is my Challenge Tour debut I’m treating it like any other event,” Thomas said. “I’m feeling good and I’ve been playing well for months so I’m not setting targets. I’ll just play my usual game and take it shot-by-shot.
“My iron play is on point at the moment so I’ll be looking to capitalise by hitting some good shots and holing some putts. It’s been about 18 months since I played the Al Hamra course, but I’ll play a few practise rounds early next week to get reacquainted with it.”
The RAK 2016 Golf Challenge, sponsored by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority boasts a $350,000 (Dh1.285m) purse. The event will also include a championship village, open from 10am to 4pm, where it is hoped to attracted thousands of spectators and their families.
Nick Tarratt, director of the European Tour International, said: “It is an exciting time for the Challenge Tour as we prepare to embark on a new territory in Ras Al Khaimah. It is tremendous to be showcasing the emirate through our media platforms and the 46-minute television highlights programme, which will be distributed around the world.
“The Challenge Tour and Ras Al Khaimah have so many common synergies, specifically in terms of the players on our development tour playing in this growing destination for both golf and other attractions. The emirate is a perfect fit for us and we look forward to a great tournament and then building on that success in the future.”
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Updated: October 24, 2016 04:00 AM