Friday, July 22, 2016

Dubai-based  prodigy Thomas beats Australia’s Ferguson in Lanark play-off

DUBAI— Rising MENA Golf Tour star and UAE’s number one amateur Rayhan Thomas flashed a glimpse of his precocious talent, winning the weather-hit Scottish U18 boys' open amateur stroke-play title at Lanark, the 25th oldest golf club in the world, on Thursday.

The 16-year-old Dubai-based prodigy, who is supported by the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, defeated Australia’s Ben Ferguson at the second play-off hole with a par after the pair finished tied at the top on five under.

Thomas, who plays off a plus two handicap, had his chances to seal the deal in regulation play, but a bogey on the closing par-3 hole extended his wait in an event which was reduced to 54 holes after lightning storms forced cancellation of play on Wednesday.

“This is a good event to win, as Scotland has some of the best under-18 players,” said Thomas, who is currently on a five-week tour of the UK which culminates in him playing at the British boys' open amateur championship at Muirfield.

“It’s too hot to play in Dubai in the summer so I thought ‘why not try Scotland?’ This is one of the biggest events I’ve won, as I also won the Qatar Amateur in January and went on to play in the Qatar Masters on the European Tour which was a great experience.”

Thomas opened with a one-under 69 and backed it up with a neat 66, which was highlighted by three birdies on the bogey-free front nine, before forcing a playoff with a final round 70.

“This win shows I am improving with every tournament and that makes me feel proud,” said Thomas, a two-time runner-up on the MENA Golf Tour.

“I’ve been playing quite well on the MENA Golf Tour and that has added to my confidence. I am doing a lot of good work to make sure everything is in good shape,” said Thomas, who hails from the southern Indian state of Kerala.

Congratulating Thomas on his victory, Mohamed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the MENA Golf Tour, said: “Rayhan’s achievement speaks volumes of his immense talent and temperament.
“I am confident his win will motivate emerging youngsters, especially from the MENA region, to work hard on their game and make a name for themselves.

“Our aim is to encourage and nurture young talent who have shown great promise by producing some really good performances on the MENA Golf Tour and will continue to do so.
“I wish him the very the best and hope Rayhan has a great future ahead of him," added Buamaim, who is also the vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi.

Picture caption: Donald Bremner, vice-president of Scottish Golf, presents th trophy to Rayhan Thomas.



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