Al Shahrani leads on second day of Qatar Open

By Armstrong Vas

DOHA (Qat): Qatar’s Ali Al Shahrani on Friday kept his composure in most trying weather conditions to take a six-stroke lead into the final day of the Qatar Open Amateur Championship.

A total of 108 golfers are taking part in the event, with the winner earning a place at next month’s Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

Al Shahrani shot 1-under par 70 to head the leaderboard at the end of the second day of the amateur competiton organized by Qatar Golf Association in association with the Qatar Olympic Committee.

The event is played on individual stroke play format and Saturday’s action will see 60 vying for the top honours.

“Today I shot one under par and yesterday I shot one over par so I am leading over my friend Saleh Al Kaabi,” said Al Shahrani, while speaking to www.qatar-masters.com

Al Shahrani has a gross score of 145 from two rounds and has a six-stroke lead over his Qatari team-mate Saleh Al Kaabi, who has a net score of 151 of 7-over par.

Speaking about the weather conditions for the last two days, Al Shahrani said the strong winds was a challenge for most of the golfers on the course.

“Today and yesterday was so windy, but I managed to put up a good show on the second day. Hopefully, I will do better tomorrow (Saturday) and win the tournament,” he said.

Overnight leader Ruan Jordaan has slipped into third place following an unimpressive show.

“Conditions were very tough today. I had the luck of the draw yesterday so I had an early tee off and the wind was not so strong when I was on the golf course yesterday,” said the Doha-based South African.

“I think I’m no more in contention for the title but I will try to be in the race for qualification for the Qatar Masters,” said Jordaan, who is two strokes behind Al Kaabi.

Tom Sweigart is in the fourth spot three shots behind Jordaan while another Qatari Jaham Al Al Kuwari occupies the fifth place.

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.

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.