Abu Dhabi: Luke Joy hopes home comforts and the presence of 2011 Open champion Darren Clarke will help him at this week’s Golf Citizen Abu Dhabi Open at Yas Links from Monday to Wednesday.
The 29-year-old Englishman, who is a member at Yas and a two-time winner on the Mena Golf Tour, needs a strong finish to move up the Order of Merit, where he’s currently fourth.
With two runners-up finishes and a third under his belt, Joy has been on form this season, but he is running low on confidence this week after missing out on the second stage of European Tour Q-School in Austria by a single shot.
“I think I need to refocus and get back on the horse again,” said Joy, who will be up against 15 other Mena event winners and former European Ryder Cup captain Clarke in Abu Dhabi.
South Africa’s MG Keyser leads the Order of Merit after back-to-back wins in Dubai, but he’s absent this week after opting to play in an Asian Development Tour event in Malaysia instead. This opens to the door to others looking to eat into his lead, such as second-placed Fredrik From, third-placed Jamie Elson, and fourth-placed Joy.
Record 10-time event winner Zane Scotland, who has been battling a back injury, will be hoping to keep the momentum going after finishing tied for fourth at the Els Club last week. The Englishman is currently 33rd on the Order of Merit, and desperately needs a win to move up the table.
England’s Todd Clements leads the amateur Order of Merit just ahead of compatriot Sam Hobday. They will be joined by 24 entries in the amateur division, including UAE players, Khalid Yousuf, Ahmad Skaik, Sohail Al Marzouqi and Abdullah Al Musharrakh, and a further four from Saudi Arabia.
Mena Tour chairman Mohammad Juma Bu Amim, said: “It’s great to see UAE national team players, in particular, sign up for the event. The experience that the region’s amateurs gain from competing alongside professionals will hold them in good stead for their future regional and international engagements,” he added.