Dubai: Former England cricketer Craig Kieswetter joins a list of 86 hopefuls in the Mena Golf Tour Qualifying School at the Royal Golf El Jadida in Morocco this week.
Kieswetter had a promising cricketing career cut short at the age of 26 after taking a ball to the face off a David Willey delivery while batting for Somerset against Northamptonshire in a County Championship match back in 2014, which left him with blurred vision.
The South African born wicketkeeper has already played on the Mena Tour once before after getting an invite to play in last year’s event in Kuwait, where he finished tied for 33rd on level par after opening with a four under 66, but he will now be looking to earn his full card.
Scotland’s Grant Forrest, who was part of Great Britain and Ireland’s 2015 Walker Cup winning team before turning professional last year, will also be making his Mena Tour debut this week.
The former Scottish amateur champion made his European Tour debut as an invite in last year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championships, finishing tied for 41st.
Both will tee it up alongside a total 86 players in the 54-hole Q-School to be held in two stages.
The first stage, on March 7-8, will see players compete over 36 holes of stroke play when the half-way cut will be made, narrowing down the field to 70 players for the final stage 18-hole competition to be played the following day. A minimum of 50 players from the final qualifying round will be eligible for category seven membership of the 2017 Mena Tour.
Entries to Q-School include a mix of youth and experience, with English players leading the field with 32 entries while nine golfers, including two amateurs, spearhead the Indian challenge.
Among notable other names in Q-School, which is represented by players from 24 different countries in total, are; the UAE’s Ahmad Al Musharrakh and Danny Poulter, brother of the Ryder Cup legend Ian.
They, among with many others, will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of England’s Andrew Marshall and Chile’s Antonio Costa, who went on to win a tour event after graduating from last year’s inaugural Q-School.
Mohammad Juma Bu Amim, chairman of the Mena Tour, said: “We appreciate all the hard work done by Royal Golf El Jadida in presenting the course in top condition. With the field comprising a great mix of youth and experience, we are headed for an entertaining week. I wish all the players the very best.”
The Mena Tour was founded in 2011 to develop golf in the region. Leading players earn invites to play in select European Tour events, get full privileges on the Sunshine Tour and exemptions into the final stage of Asian Tour Q-School.