Rick Hessing-1674390930460
Winner of the 2023 Ras Al Khaimah Championship, Rick Hessing of Netherlands (right), alongside Joshua Humphries, Senior Executive - Tournament & Membership Coordinator, Al Hamra Golf Club. Image Credit: Supplied

Ras Al Khaimah: Rick Hessing shot a final round gross 68 for a 54-hole total of four under par 212 to win the 2023 Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah Championship at Al Hamra Golf Club by two strokes.

The 21-year-old Hessing, playing off a +4 handicap, had the first round lead with a 69 on Friday, followed by a 75 in the second round and Sunday’s 68.

The Dutch, starting the final round three shots behind the leader, was quick out of the blocks with two birdie threes on his opening two holes. A dropped shot on hole four saw him to the turn in 35, one under the card.

His back nine started with four pars and then finished strongly from the 14th tee with a birdie-par-par-birdie-birdie finish to take the title.

National titles

Hessing, on completion of his round, said: “I led the tournament after a round one 69, but could not get it going yesterday. Today from tee to green I was very solid and holed a few putts to get it done. It is my first time to play in Ras Al Khaimah and Al Hamra Golf Club, I have visited Dubai before.

“I have won a few National titles back home in the Netherlands; the Under 21’s and the Matchplay, the latter including professionals and have come to the UAE on this visit for two weeks of winter practice and to play in both last week’s Emirates Amateur Open at Emirates Golf Club and this week here in Ras Al Khaimah.

“To win an R & A World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) — Men’s Division event is good news and makes it even more special.”

Runner-up was fellow countryman Thom Hoetmer, who Hessing travels with around Europe, playing full-time amateur golf in the summer season as well as these last two weeks in the UAE, with Hoetmer shooting a final round 68 to go along with his opening rounds of 76 and 70.

The 43-year-old Simon Dunn, now playing off a +4 handicap, representing Tower Links Golf Club, Ras Al Khaimah, a former tour professional on the Asian Tour, Challenge Tour and MENA Tour, who received his Amateur status back in October 2022, finished tied second and third on a countback with rounds of 71, 70 and 73.

Four-way tie

Leading the Net Division was Welshman James Nash on +9 off a +3 handicap following a four-way tie that was decided by countback.

Hessing will receive an invitation to a Challenge Tour event in the UAE later in the year, part of the DP World Tour, which he intends to take up, subject to his tournament schedule.

The Ras Al Khaimah event is the eighth of 17 on the 2022-2023 Emirates Golf Federation (EGF) Men’s Order of Merit.

The next event on the EGF Men’s Order of Merit is the Montgomerie Golf Club Men’s Open to be played from February 3-5.

Results (Par 72, 7,150 yards):

Best Gross Division

R. Hessing (Ned) 69. 75. 68. 212.

T. Hoetmer (Ned) 76. 70. 68. 214 (Winning on countback).

S. Dunn (Tower Links GC) 71. 70. 73. 214.

Best Net Division

J. Nash (+3, Wales) 78. 76. 71. 225.

Y. Seo (24, Al Hamra Golf Club, RAK) 80. 70. 75. 225.

R. Gulati (Scr, DCGYC) 73. 73. 79. 225.

P. Tourillon (24, Montgomerie Golf Club, Dubai) 74. 73. 78. 225.