Entries are pouring in thick and fast for the forthcoming MENA Golf Tour, promising a rich fare when the second edition of the tour gets under way in September. There is still time left for the deadline to expire, but already 332 players, representing 42 countries, have signed for the tour which features six back-to-back events, including one in Saudi Arabia.
A new initiative of the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, the tour boasts a combined prize fund of $325,000. The maximum starting field for each event will comprise 100 players of which 60 will be professionals and the rest amateurs.
In the event of a tournament being oversubscribed, which seems likely to be the case, the first 90 (50 professionals and 40 amateurs) entries will automatically be accepted and the balance will compete in a pre-tournament qualifying event for the remaining 10 places (five professionals and five amateurs).
While the traditional golf powerhouses like the UK, the USA and Australia are well represented in the early list of entries, players from as far afield as Iceland, Gibraltar, Senegal and Uganda have also signed up, giving the tour truly a global look.
Players from the United Kingdom lead the list of early entries with a whopping count of 71, followed by 64 UAE-based professionals and amateurs from different nationalities. The MENA region is well represented with 14 golfers from Morocco, 12 from Bahrain, five from Qatar and three from Saudi Arabia entering the fray.
The tour has created ripples among golfers from the sub-continent with as many as 27 players from Pakistan and 18 from India signing up online. Last year only one golfer from India had registered for the tour while there were about 10 from Pakistan.
“We are absolutely delighted with the early response to the MENA Golf Tour events and look forward to welcoming the players. It’s great to see many new players from countries like Iceland, Finland, Singapore, Turkey and Uganda coming over to play the events,” said Mohamed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the MENA Golf Tour.
“Last year, 25 countries were represented in the tour events and this year the number has already gone up to 42 which shows how well the tour has been received by golfers,” he said.
“With a little over one month to go before the first event gets started, all our preparations are well on course for what we believe will be exciting events,” he added.
The six-stop MENA Golf Tour, which is supported by Omega and Mercedes-Benz, kicks off at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht on September 24, 2012 while the season-ending MENA Tour Championship will be held at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club from October 29 to 31.
The top three professionals and the leading amateur from their respective Orders of Merit will receive special invitations to compete in the 2013 Omega Dubai Desert Classic and, possibly, other European Tour events in the region.
Interested players may visit the tour website – http://www.menagolftour.com – for more details and registration.