Jordaan leads; Qatar’s Al Shahrani on second spot

By Armstrong Vas

DOHA (Qat): Doha-based Ruan Jordaan shot one under par 74 to head the leaderboard on the first day at the 39th Qatar Open Amateur Championship on Thursday.

Jordaan overcame tough blustery conditions to finish ahead of the 108 golfers.

The South African is followed by Qatar national team member Ali Al Shahrani while another Doha-based golfer Mike Elliott of the USA is in the third spot.

“It was very windy out there. It was a tough day, but I’m happy with my scores. I was playing after a long time. What I achieved was good,” said Elliott, who is a coach at the Doha Golf Club.

The three-day championship is held on individual stroke play format, and the field will be reduced to just 60 players at end of the second day’s play on Friday.

The winner will qualify for the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, a European Tour event, from March 11 to 14 at the Education City Golf Club.

Tom Sweigart, Pratyush Jain, Iain Stewart, David Moreland, Jordan Massey, Kohei Noguchi, Sam Wall, Kittisak Sang-Orn, Simon Nsubuga, Christian Prambs JR, Saleh Al Kaabi, Abdulrahman Al Shahrani, Chris Corcelles, Jack McGuire, Anwar Ali, Saad Kazi and Arnav Jain are likely to improve their positions on the second day.

Leaderboard after 1st day’s play:

Ruan Jordaan (-1) 73, Ali Al Shahrani (1) 74, Mike Elliott (4) 75, Tom Sweigart (-1) 75, Pratyush Jain (2) 77, Iain Stewart (7) 77, David Moreland (6) 78, Jordan Massey (3) 79, Kohei Noguchi (4) 79, Sam Wall (2) 79.

Qatari golfers eye Qatar Open title

By Armstrong Vas

DOHA (Qat): Qatar national team players are looking for a good show at the Qatar Open Amateur Championship which started off at Doha Golf Club (DGC) on Thursday morning.

The three-day tournament, which is in its 35th edition, is being held in association with the Qatar Olympic Committee.

This year’s tournament has been restricted to Qatar-based players only due to the Covid19 pandemic and a host of players are sensing their chance to lay their hands on the trophy on the final day on Saturday.

With the Qatar Open winner qualifying for the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, which will be held at Education City Golf Club, from March 11 to 14, the Qatari players are keen to shift gears.

Jaham Al Kuwari, Saleh Al Kaabi and Ali Al Shahrani are confident of winning the trophy.

Al Kaabi, who has won a couple of titles at the GCC level and finished fourth last year, senses his chance to win the trophy.

“Yes, with the extra ordinary situation and with the tournament restricted to Qatar-based players all our national team players have a chance,” said Kaabi.

Kaabi’s national team colleague Jaham said he is targeting a win in the tournament.

“The Qatar Open is our best chance to dazzle in our home tournament as we were unable to take part in the tournaments outside Qatar due to Covid19,” said Jaham.

Qatar national team coach Hassan Benrokiya said all the national team, senior and junior players, trained hard ahead of the tournament.

“We had a short camp for our players ahead of the event and we have worked on a few areas. All the players are confident and eager for success,” said Hassan.

“It is a good opportunity for Qatar national team players to win the trophy. It will not be easy as there are a few good amateur players in Qatar,” he added.

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

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

“We can make the cut in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in March,” said Ali.

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.

Education City Golf Club ready to host CBQ Qatar Masters

By Armstrong Vas

DOHA (Qatar):The Education City Golf Club (ECGC) course is ready to host some of the world’s top golfers for the 2021 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, a European Tour event.

The four-day event is organised by the Qatar Golf Association (QGA) in partnership with Qatar Olympic Committee.

The competition will be held from March 11-14 for the second successive year at the ECGC, which is a part of Qatar Foundation.

“The golf course is in fantastic condition. All preparations are going on as per the plan,” Michael Braidwood, General Manager of ECGC, told www.qatar-masters.com

The work on the golf course for hosting the prestigious championship started six months earlier, and the greens are being fine tuned to meet the European Tour guidelines.

“The key priority is obviously the greens making sure they are firm, fast and smooth for the professionals to putt on,” added Braidwood.

The tournament will be held under the guidelines of Ministry of Public Health (MoPH).

The players, officials, caddies and media personnel accompanying the European Tour entourage will be operating from a ‘medical bubble’ before and during the event.

“The tournament professionals from around the world all of them will go into a medical bubble along with officials, caddies, TV crew and the media coming from overseas. All of them will operate from within a bubble,” added the official.

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters will be held without spectators: QGA

By Armstrong Vaz

DOHA (QAT): This year’s Commercial Bank Qatar Masters will be held without spectators, according to the event promoters Qatar Golf Association (QGA).

The decision not to have fans was to follow the guidelines of Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) so that a safe environment is ensured for every stakeholders with QGA led by its President Hassan Al Naimi and Secretary General Fahad Al Naimi are working overtime to make it a success.

The Local Organising Committee (LOC) in consultation with the MoPH have decided to have no fans with an intent to keep the event safe for everybody.

“The event will go ahead without the spectators. the Golf Village, which was traditionally part of the event, will not be there,” said Mike.

The European Tour event will take place at Education City Golf Course from March 11 to 14.

“All the players, caddies, officials and all other people accompanying the European Tour, including the official media team, will be operating from ‘CBQ Qatar Masters medical bubble’,” said Mike Shouriey, Technical Director at QGA.

It will be the second year in succession the event will be held at the course designed by Jose Maria Olazabal.

“We will have to follow MoPH guidelines and adhere to European Tour protocols. QGA is working with MoPH and European to make the event safe for everybody associated with the tournament.”

The golf entourage will also undergo COVID-19 test 72 hours in their respective country before boarding the plane to Qatar.

“Around 500-600 people will be in Qatar for the event,” added Mike.

“On arrivals, they will be tested at the Hamad International Airport. If they are are found negative, the players, caddies and officials will be shifted to their respective hotels.”

The LOC members, volunteers, contractors and hospitality staff will also undergo tests.

QGA along with MoPH are working out modalities to accommodate a limited number of VIP guests for the event.

“We will know the exact number of VIP’s during the event and the protocols that will to be followed at the prize distribution in the coming days,” said Mike.

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.