12 February 2021

Qatar Open to be restricted to Qatar-based players

By Armstrong Vas

DOHA (QAT): The Qatar Open Amateur Championship, which will be held  February 25 to 27,  will be restricted to Qatar-based players only due to the Covid19 pandemic, the Qatar Golf Association (QGA) said.

Besides, QGA has also done way with the professional division, which was part of the amateur event for the last three years.

The three-day tournament, which is in its 35th edition, will be held in association with the Qatar Olympic Committee at the Doha Golf Club (DGC) from February 25 to 27.

“Due to the Ministry of Public Health guidelines no outstation professional players will be able to take part in the competition. Any player who is currently staying in Qatar and is qualified to take part in the tournament and eligible to register,” said Mike Shouriey, Technical Director at QGA.

The Qatar Open will be played in an individual stroke play format and will be restricted to golfers with a Handicap limit of 12.

“We will not have the professional category this time. Over the past few years, most of the professional players were from outside. But with the travel restriction in place, they will not be able reach this time. The organizing committee has decided not to have a separate professional section this year,” added Mike.

Three players from Qatar Open professional category qualified for the Commercial Bank  Qatar Masters since last three years.

Last year, pro winner South Africa’s Mathiam Keyser along with Niklas Lemke of Sweden and Brandon Robinson Thompson of England advanced into the Masters.

One of the oldest events in the region

The Qatar Open winner will qualify for the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters which will be held at Education City Golf Club, from March 11 to 14.

The event is one of the oldest in the region and was first held in 1983 and contested over a sand course at Umm Said.

Michael Young of Ireland won the amateur title last year and also played in the European Tour event.

But this year’s field is likely to see a reduced field.

“We might not be able to have a field of 120 players as was the case over the years but the field might be a reduced one of 80-90 players,” said Mike.

A number of Qatar national team players will take part in the event and it will serve as a good preparation for them.

“Irrespective of their performance in the Qatar Open, three Qatari golfers have been awarded wild card by the European Tour for the Qatar Masters,” added Mike.