Ahmad Skaik is seeking to make his first cut on the Challenge Tour
Ahmad Skaik is seeking to make his first cut on the Challenge Tour Image Credit: Supplied

The UAE’s No.1 amateur golfer, Ahmad Skaik, knows he needs to go low tomorrow to make his first cut on the Challenge Tour – something the Emirati believes he is more than capable of.

Skaik carded a frustrating opening 74 at the Abu Dhabi Challenge, the first of two Challenge Tour events in the UAE, after making a double-bogey, three bogeys and a birdie around Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club.

“I didn't think I played as bad as I shot,” said Skaik, who teed off in the early wave.

“I just wasn’t sharp enough around the greens, I need more tournament and more reps. I feel like the game is trending in the right direction, I was a bit better off the tee today, which I had been struggling with.

“My lag putting wasn’t great out there, it’s something I need to sharpen. Hopefully they will drop for me tomorrow and I can go low.”

Since finishing his studies at the end of 2022, Skaik’s full focus has been on the game, with his long-term goal of turning professional still at the forefront of his mind.

In a bid to reach that end goal, he told Gulf News last month that he made the decision to amend his swing.

That has been put into competitive action for the first time this week, with Skaik revealing the difficulty of the courses on his Challenge Tour starts last year was a deciding factor in changing his swing.

“Usually when I play my swing is solid, but when it’s off, I have a two-way miss – you just cannot play golf like that, especially on Tours like this where the courses very tight,” said Skaik, who is one of nine UAE National Team players competing this week after receiving invitations from the Emirates Golf Federation.

“That’s one of the reasons I struggled last season, I’m standing at the tee and the fairways are like ten yards wide, I’m standing over the ball thinking this could go either left of right.

“So, I just worked on the swing to eliminate that right miss. My miss is now left, but sometimes it goes a bit too far left! I’m just trying to straighten that up.”

While today’s first round didn’t quite go to plan the start, the reigning UAE Presidents Cup champion is determined to turn it around when he returns for his second round tomorrow.

“100%,” he replies when asked if he can go low and make the cut.

“I think I’ve got the game. It’s pretty long, but I can cope with that. I just need to hit it a bit closer, make a few more puts and I’ll be good.”