Rayhan Thomas
Rayhan Thomas will tee it up with LIV Golf stars this week Image Credit: X

Dubai-born Rayhan Thomas says he is grateful for the opportunity to compete for bigger purses as the 24-year-old gets set to make his International Series debut this week.

The Indian prodigy, who only turned professional last month, has secured an invitation into International Series Morocco, which is the third of ten elevated events on the Asian Tour calendar.

As well as offering increased prize funds of $2m, the series also offers a pathway onto the LIV Golf League with the Order of Merit leader at the end of the season earning a spot on the lucrative circuit.

He is joined in the field this week by Smash GC’s Graeme McDowell, Stingers GC’s Branden Grace, RangeGoats GC’s Peter Uihlein and Legion XIII’s Caleb Surratt.

“I think all pro golfers are always grateful for the opportunity to play for a bigger purse,” Thomas told Gulf News.

“The International series is a great addition to the Asian Tour, and I also think it brings in a lot of players from the west and east who really want to play and get into these events.

“It’s a lot of fun to be able to compete against guys that have such big résumés. It will be good to see how I stack up against them and work out what I need to get better at.”

Since turning professional at the beginning of June, Thomas has competed at the PGA Tour Americas Qualifying School, where he earned conditional status, before making the cut on his Korn Ferry Tour debut at the Kansas Wichita Open.

It’s fair to say it’s been a pretty good start to his career after five years playing on the collegiate circuit for Oklahoma State University, which boasts Rickie Fowler and Viktor Hovland as alumni.

“College golf was very important,” he says.

“It’s been huge for the development of my game. College golf right now is as competitive as it’s ever been. To be able to put myself in that position was huge and I learned a lot from Oklahoma State and the team. It’s been great for my golf game.”

Thomas will be looking to develop his game even further this week when he takes on Royal Golf Dar Es Salam Red Course in Rabat. While he is no stranger to playing in Morocco, having played in MENA Tour events in the country, this week’s host venue offers a fresh challenge.

“I haven’t played the course before, but I played 18 yesterday and 9 today,” he says.

“It’s a fantastic golf course that offers a great test. I think it’s a ball-striking paradise, so you’ve got to drive it well and hit your irons good to leave yourself in the right spot on the putting greens, as they’re pretty tough as well.”

The immediate plan after this start remains unclear, but Thomas knows that golf is what now pays the bills.

Qualifying Schools for tours across the world surely beckon towards the end of the year, with the Asian Tour’s Q School set to be included in those plans following the circuit’s ascent to one of the game’s premier places to play golf in recent years.

“100% I will definitely think about Asian Tour Q School,” he says.

“I’m not too sure what my plan is yet, I’m still trying to figure bits and pieces out, but I will definitely give thought to playing Asian Tour Qualifying School.”