Dubai: The Emirates Golf Club’s Faldo Course claimed a exciting slice of sporting history for the UAE when the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic became the first professional golf tournament to be played under lights on Wednesday.
At precisely 6.30pm the new LED floodlights were switched on turning the course into what looked like a scene from a Steven Spielberg movie with the bright lights simulating daylight to create an exhilarating night golf experience.
Sir Nick Faldo, who designed the 72-par course, was quick to react on his twitter account @NickFaldo008 saying, “hope you are all glowing with excitement @OmegaGolfDubai Moonlight Classic – the first day-night professional golf tournament. Good luck to everyone taking part @LETGolf have fun from @FaldoDesign.’
A strong field of 56 professionals are competing in the 54-hole tournament where each professional will play at least nine holes of one of their opening two rounds under Faldo’s powerful new eco-friendly LED floodlights.
Cheyenne Woods, Tiger Woods’ niece, who has returned to Dubai to compete for her second LET title, may not have had the best of rounds shooting a five-over-72, was nevertheless thrilled to be part of the historic event and said: “I think it’s a great event for golf. I think these formats keep the fans interested and it’s good for us too, just having a different experience playing.”
Scotland’s Kylie Henry enjoyed a good opening day carding a flawless three-under-72 with the help of three birdies, commented: “(I’m) delighted with the opening round. It was a really good round. We just had a lot of fun out there, it was a Pro-Am format and I had three really nice amateurs (playing in her group).”
England’s Gabriella Cowley, who has played cricket for Essex, football and tennis, was shaping well over the front nine where she even topped the leader board, but had to settle for a par-72 final score under lights.
A player who announced her intentions to challenge for the trophy was Germany’s Carol Lampert, who fired a bogey free 68 to take the early lead before the lights came on.
Besides the $285,000 in prize money a BMW is up for grabs for the player, who aces the Par-234 17th hole at the course.
The 64-strong field features names like Norway’s Marianne Skarpnord, former money lists winners Beth Allen from USA and Wales’ Becky Brewerton.
Florentyna Parker and Emily Kristine Pedersen, the former Solheim Cup teammates, are joined by Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall, who is the highest-ranked player in the field, at world No 133.