Rayan Ahmed has been in fine form this season
Rayan Ahmed has been in fine form this season Image Credit: Supplied

The UAE will be represented at the US Junior Amateur Golf Championship for the first time in the tournament’s 76-year history after UAE National Team star Rayan Ahmed received an invitation into the prestigious event.

The tournament is considered among the most difficult of all USGA championships to win, with 64 from around 250 participants qualifying for the match play competition following two rounds of stroke play at Oakland Hills Country Club.

To earn a spot in the elite field, male golfers aged 18 and younger must be ranked among the world’s top amateurs or successfully advance through one of 42 qualifying events held in late spring and early summer.

Ahmed, 17, secured his spot as the 78th highest ranked amateur under the age of 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) and will compete with the world’s best junior when play begins in Michigan on July 22.

“I received the invite while I was in Japan, saw the email and felt really proud,” Ahmed told Gulf News.

“Getting to play the biggest junior event in the world was a bucket list goal for me.

“I'm very proud to be the first player to represent the UAE in this prestigious event, and I hope to continue to raise the flag higher.”

The invitation into the US Junior Amateur Championship caps off a remarkable few months for the youngster.

In March, Ahmed secured both the Individual Gold and Team Gold at the GCC Golf Championship in Qatar, before narrowly missing the cut at the Abu Dhabi Challenge on his Challenge Tour debut after carding an impressive first round four under par 66.

Rayan Ahmed
Rayan Ahmed carded an impressive first round four under par 66 at the Abu Dhabi Challenge Image Credit: Thomas Wragg

One week later, he proved that impressive round was no fluke with a dominating display at the inaugural GCC Youth Games, where he surged to a 14-stroke triumph at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

That form has seen him soar to 557th overall in the WAGR, which makes him the UAE’s highest ranked amateur golfer.

“My game is the best it's been right now,” said Ahmed, who began representing the UAE last year.

“I’ve had some great results over the last few weeks; a nine under par three day performance at the JAGA International Golf Series, before following it up with a four under par 66 at a Challenge Tour venue (Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club).

“I then won the GCC Youth Olympics with an under par score over three days. This is the most consistent I've been with my game and the goal is to keep it that way and strive to improve every day.

“I’m really happy to have reached a WAGR ranking of 557th in the world, I'm particularly happy about the quality of competition I have played leading to my WAGR, including two pro tours such as the Challenge Tour and other top regional events.”

Ahmed seeks to improve that ranking and his game even further over the next few months, with trips to big amateur tournaments in the States and Europe on the agenda this summer.

But before he can dream of following in the footsteps of Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Scottie Scheffler – all of whom have won the U.S. Junior Amateur Golf Championship – Ahmed has his studies to focus on.

“I look forward to playing to the best of my ability,” said Ahmed, who competed in the States for the first time last year at the World Teen Championship as well as playing iconic courses such as Bay Hill, TPC Sawgrass and Pinehurst.

“However, I'm going to shift my focus to my exams for the next few weeks, but knowing myself, I'm still going to find ways to keep my swing consistent and stick to the process.”