Competition high on first day of 17th GCC Golf Championships

24 February 2013Back

Omani junior team player shows great potential for future.

Oman Team English LandscapeA perfect day greeted the players from six GCC countries as the first teams started play at 7.30am at Almouj Golf on the first day of competition at the 17th GCC Golf Championships.

The weather was very similar to Saturday's practice day though there was a cooler sea-breeze to keep the golfers on their toes as they had to contend with the challenge of hitting the ball perfectly. The teams were split through a random draw that saw a mixed level of play between the groups, though the nationalities were split. The Oman team members, playing in green, were playing alongside players from each of the GCC countries and camaraderie was high as they shared golf buggies as well as conversation.

One of the favourite teams, along with Qatar and the UAE, is the Bahrain, winners of the first 16 GCC Golf Championship events. Abdulla Al Kaabi, General Secretary of the Bahrain Golf Association, was confident of their chances this year, but is watching all the other teams closely, 'Our team did well today, they missed some birdie opportunities, but we are in a good position going into the second day. Although Qatar and the UAE are our main threats, the other teams have made great progress over recent years and we can't exclude them. Inshallah we'll bring back the title to Bahrain this year!'

All the players commented on the quality of the fairways at Almouj Golf and the challenge of keeping their shots out of the rough that lines each hole of the course. Al Kaabi was watching as the teams went around and joined the players in their praise for such a championship course in Oman, 'Oman is in the early stages of a golf industry but with Almouj Golf they are setting a very high standard and the future is very bright. The location along the sea adds a special feel to the course and makes it truly unique.'

After the first day of play, it is Bahrain who top the leaderboard with a total score of 222 points. Only one shot behind is the Qatar team but closely followed by the UAE delegation on 242 points. The Omani team had a very strong showing, putting them in a very respectable fourth place with 257 points. Rounding off the points table is Saudi Arabia with 260 points and Kuwait with 285. The strongest player from all the teams in the adult groups was Ali Al Bishi from Qatar who shot 2 under par with a total of 70 points. Hamad Mubarak of Bahrain parred the course with a 72.

In the junior groups it is one of Oman's youngest hopes, Ahmed Abdullah Al Balushi, who scored the best net result and is leading the junior tables by two shots over UAE player Ahmed Skaik and five shots ahead of Bahrain's Abdulla Ali.

The GCC Golf Championship has been made possible due to the work put in by Golf Oman, with support from the Ministry of Sport and the key sponsors who see the long-term benefits of developing a sport such as golf in Oman. These sponsors include Etihad Airways, National Bank of Oman and Omantel.