UAE golfers believe proof is in the preparation for Nomura Cup
The UAE national golf team believe a week-long training camp in Australia is the perfect preparation for this month's Nomura Cup in Fiji.
Khalid Yousuf, Abdullah Al Musharrekh, Saif Thabet and Ahmed Al Musharrekh, the top four players from the Emirates, are currently in Melbourne with their coach Chris Vallender before they take on the best of Asia's amateur players.
After too many below-par performances in previous major tournaments, when the final results were far lower than expectations, the Emirates Golf Federation (EGF) decided to leave nothing to chance this time.
So they flew the team to Australia where they will be put through their paces by Vallender, both on and off the course, as they get ready mentally and physically for the upcoming challenge.
The Asia Pacific Golf Confederation Team Championship, or the Nomura Cup as it is officially known, will be held between August 16-19 at Denarau in Fiji, and Vallender and his quartet think they can finish in the top 10 if everyone plays to their potential.
"This week-long camp gives the boys the perfect practice for what they will come up against in Fiji," said South African Vallender, himself a former professional tour player.
"The courses and weather conditions in Melbourne are really similar to what they will experience, so this is an excellent chance for them to acclimatise before we land in Fiji for what is going to be a really testing tournament.
"They have everything to gain from this tournament and the experience of rubbing shoulders with some of the finest amateurs in the world will provide a great boost to their confidence.
"The preparations so far have been the best since I have been involved with the EFG. The four guys have been excellent and done all we've asked of them. They've worked hard, have taken in everything we have and while they enjoy each other's company, they have taken their golf more seriously than ever before.
"So we are quietly confident about what we can achieve. I definitely think this will be the UAE's best chance of a top ten finish."
Held since 1963, the Asia Pacific Teams Championship rotates around member countries of the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC). The format is 72 holes stroke play with the best three scores to count each day.
Australia, once again the strong favourites, has won the trophy five times in a row, before South Korea's shock success in 2009. This year's tournament is expected to attract 28 countries from all over Asia, although this figure has yet to be confirmed.
"The players are in good shape despite a long flight from Dubai and are looking forward to the challenge ahead," said the non-playing captain Khalid Mubarak who is with the team.
"All the boys have done very well in the run up the championship and if they play to their potential, I am sure we can make a mark. Most of the players in the squad have the experience of competing at this level of the game and hence they know what to expect."
Saeed Albudoor, the general manager of the EGF was confident 2011 would be the year that golf in the UAE would be known, not only for its championship courses, but also for the home-grown talent that has come the federation's system.
"The boys have really worked hard for this championship and the good thing is that they are determined to do well and that's what counts in the end," he said.
"We, at the Emirates Golf Federation, are committed to providing our players every possible opportunity to hone their competitive edge. They are learning with experience and I am sure with time they will be a force to be reckoned with on the regional circuit.
"We need to be patient and I wish them all the best."
Published: August 9, 2011 04:00 AM