Thomas Ogilvie
Thomas Ogilvie is chasing Faycal Serghini after claiming victory at Dubai Hills Golf Club Image Credit: Emirates PGA/Instagram

A host of club professionals across the UAE are bidding to qualify for a spot in the two Challenge Tour events in Abu Dhabi next month, with the Emirates PGA offering three different routes into the Abu Dhabi Challenge or UAE Challenge.

The winner of next month’s Emirates PGA Championship, which is being held at Yas Links and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, and the champion of the season-long Order of Merit will receive an invite into both Challenge Tour events.

There will also be one spot available into one of the events through the Emirates PGA Play-Offs, which comprises the final four events on the Order of Merit at Montgomerie Golf Club, Tower Links Golf Club, Dubai Hills Golf Club and the Emirates PGA Championship.

The player with the lowest combined score from those four events will secure their place alongside the game’s rising starts, with the Emirates Golf Federation’s Faycal Serghini currently leading the way on -3.

The Moroccan, who has played several times on the DP World Tour, finished runner-up in the tournaments at Montgomerie Golf Club and Tower Links Golf Club, carding 71 and 70 respectively.

Thomas Ogilvie sits two strokes behind in second on the Play-Offs, with the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club professional claiming victory at Tower Links Golf Club to surge up the rankings after carding 74 in the first counting event at Montgomerie Golf Club.

The next tournament at Dubai Hills Golf Club gets underway on March 25th, with the season-ending Emirates PGA Championship played over two days between April 1st and 2nd.

The pros will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Louis Gaughan, who fired rounds of 71 and 69 at last year’s Emirates PGA Championship to secure his spot in the Abu Dhabi Challenge.

The PGA Professional at Dubai Hills Golf Club went on to make the cut at Abu Dhabi Golf Club before finishing in a share of 54th in his first start on the Challenge Tour.

The Abu Dhabi Challenge (April 18-21) at Al Ain Equestrian Golf & Shooting Club and the UAE Challenge (April 25-28) at Saadiayt Beach Golf Club are part of the European Tour group’s long-term partnership with the Emirates Golf Federation (EGF), which aims to develop golf in the United Arab Emirates for at least the next decade.

Thirty spots in each of those tournaments will be allocated to the EGF to help create playing opportunities and provide a pathway for local amateurs and pros as well as UAE National Team players.

The EGF can also trade these places with other federations across the world to give their players an opportunity to play in Challenge Tour events overseas.

The Challenge Tour, which is the official feed Tour to the DP World Tour, has developed into a proven training ground for the stars of the future, with the likes of Matt Fitzpatrick and Justin Rose starting their careers on the circuit before going on to become Major champions.