UAE GOLFERS GET A SHOT AT BIG TIME IN ASIA PACIFIC AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP WITH PLACE AT THE MASTERS AND THE OPEN AT STAKE

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Local heroes hoping course knowledge of Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club can secure passage to two Majors in 2022

Ahmad Skaik

Dubai, UAE: Five leading UAE-based amateur golfers have a chance of claiming a once-in-a-lifetime place at both the Masters and the 150th Open championship, at St Andrews next year, as they line up for a winner-takes-all four days at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC) from 3-6 November 2021 at the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club.

The AAC was created in 2009 by the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), the Masters Tournament and The R&A, to further develop amateur golf across Asia, and the 2021 championship will mark the first edition held in the UAE, one of APGC’s 42 member countries.

In honour of the latest golfing first for the UAE, five of the country’s leading amateurs have been invited to take their place alongside Asia’s finest in the four-round shootout. The UAE’s No.1 Ahmad Skaik has secured a spot, along with compatriots Khalid Yousuf, Khalifa Al Masaood and Rashid Al Emadi, while Arkesh Bhatia, another big name on the UAE scene, will be representing India.

The UAE players will be hoping that course knowledge can help them secure glory as the AAC champion will receive an invitation to compete in the Masters Tournament, at Augusta, in April 2022 and The Open, two of the four Majors on the global golfing calendar, with the runner-up gaining a place in Final Qualifying for The Open.

Winning the four-day event will not be easy though, as the field includes China’s defending champion Yuxin Lin, who is aiming for an unprecedented third AAC title, and in-form Japanese world No.1 amateur Keita Nakajima, who has secured two victories in his last three starts.

Shaikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Emirates Golf Foundation, the governing body of Golf in the United Arab Emirates, said: “The Dubai Creek championship course is a world-class venue befitting of this prestigious tournament, and the event offers a wonderful opportunity to the top-ranked amateur golfers from across Asia, including  some of our top UAE talent.

“The course provides players with a true test, the home players know it well, so we are set for an intriguing four days of golf and a potentially life-changing opportunity that is sure to bring the best out of the leading UAE players on home soil.”

Over the AAC’s 12-year history, the championship has served as a springboard for some of the world’s top players today, including current Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, Australia’s Cameron Smith, Korean Kim Si-woo, Thailand’s Jazz Janewattanond and Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan, who won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics this year.