Abu Dhabi: The cream of UK junior golf held off a spirited display from a crack squad of aspiring UAE players to clinch the one-day Challenge Match — a prelude to the 2010 Abu Dhabi Junior Golf Championship (ADJGC), in association with The Daily Telegraph. The tournament runs until Tuesday at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
A closely contested affair — both sets of juniors produced some gripping action at the ocean-front Saadiyat Beach Golf Club — as the two sides fought hard in beautiful course conditions.
Even though the British Isles took the challenge crown with 7.5 points, the current crop of UAE players produced an outstanding display to take 3.5 points, with Emirati juniors Khalid Yousuf and Ahmad Al Musharrakh winning their respective rounds.
"This tournament really gives us an excellent opportunity to play against the best young golfers in Britain and Ireland. I feel like I have flown the flag for the UAE today and am very satisfied," said Yousuf, who has participated in a number of European Tour events.
Equally impressive was Emirati rising star, Al Musharrakh. In a keenly fought contest that developed into an epic over the closing three holes, Al Musharrakh and his partner Ronan Hall prevailed with a sensational victory, beating UK duo of Luke Johnson and Fraser Mcleod on the final hole.
"Today was very special," he said afterwards.
"It was a privilege to represent my country, and a special feeling to win. This is a great victory for me and shows how young golfers in the UAE have improved over recent years."
The efforts of the UAE players drew particular praise from championship title sponsor, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), which is supporting the event to help foster enhanced grass-root player development in the emirate.
"This shows how far UAE golf has come over the last few years as well as how much further we have to go. By giving talented local youngsters the chance to line-up against their international peers is critical for them to benchmark their own skills and learn new ones. It is very encouraging to see our young juniors holding their own in the highest level of competitive junior golf," said Faisal Al Shaikh, ADTA's Event Manager.
The ADJGC runs until Tuesday and features the best under-18 golfers from the British Isles. Representing the Middle East will be exciting UAE talent, Daniel Hendry.