Dubai: Pakistan’s golfers hope to spring a surprise on the six-stage $325,000 Mena Tour, which runs from September 23 to October 31.
Aadil Jehangir, who claimed Pakistan’s best finish last year with ninth place in the Professional Order of Merit, will be joined by fellow countrymen Matloob Ahmad, Mohammad Munir, Shafiq Masih and Danyaal Jehangir for the Tour’s start at Dubai Golf Creek and Yacht Club this Sunday.
“Our expectations are high,” said Aadil, who usually plays on the Dh1 million Pakistan Golf Federation Tour and the Asian Development Tour. “But having tested the waters last year we also know we need to go up a level if we are to challenge a competent field.
“The tour offers us a great chance to play at some of the best courses and the level of competition is as good as any tour. The timings of the tour are just perfect as it provides ideal preparation for all those eyeing the Asian Tour qualifying rounds.
“The big prize, of course, is the invitation for the top three professionals [and also the leading amateur] to play in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Playing in a European Tour event in Dubai would be nothing less than a dream come true for any golfer from Pakistan.”
Jehangir, who is tipping in form Matloob Ahmad, who recently finished second on Pakistan’s domestic tour, for success, added: “The Mena Tour has opened up a big window of opportunities for Pakistani golfers and if we play to our potential, which I am sure will likely be the case, we can win at least one or two events on the Mena Tour. That’s the sort of confidence we are taking into the Mena Tour.”
However, Pakistan’s golfers will have their work cut out as they will be up against leading professionals including European Tour veteran Stephen Dodd, Jake Shepherd, the winner of the 2011 Mena Tour Order of Merit, Zane Scotland, Ross Bain, Yasin Ali, Peter Richardson and Dale Marmion, along with a strong contingent from Morocco.