The inaugural MENA Golf Tour Qualifying School will provide the perfect springboard for emerging players to graduate to the next level as they chase their dreams of playing among the game’s elite in the not-too-distant future.
Close to hundred hopefuls, representing 23 countries, have entered the Q-School which will be held at Almenara Golf Club in the Spanish resort of Sotogrande in the Cadiz province on February 14-16.
Open to all professionals and amateurs, the 54-hole Q-School will see players — all harbouring the same dream of claiming one of the MENA Golf Tour cards on offer — compete over 36 holes of stroke play when the half-way cut will be made, narrowing down the field to 80 players for the final stage 18-hole competition to be played the following day.
The top 60 players from the final qualifying round will be eligible for Category-7 membership of the MENA Golf Tour for the 2016 season which will have 21 events, covering new destinations in Kuwait, Egypt, Spain, Thailand and South Africa.
“The MENA Golf Tour is the fastest growing professional golf tour and to have around 100 players from so many countries sign up for the Q-School shows how popular the tour is becoming globally,” said Darren Clarke, the patron of the tour and 2016 European Ryder Cup captain.
“I think the recent joint venture with the Sunshine Tour is another huge step towards attracting more players to come and participate on the MENA Tour. I am very proud to be patron of the tour and it’s great from a personal point of view to see the tour growing in the manner in which it is,” said Clarke, the 2011 Open champion.
By hosting the Q-School, the MENA Golf Tour has fulfilled one of the major criteria in order to be awarded Official World Golf Rankings which means the tour will soon be eligible for the status by the time of the first event on the tour — the Royal Golf D’Anfa Open in Morocco — gets underway on March 22nd as indicted by Grant Wilson, Chief Operating Officer of the Sunshine Tour, who is also a member of the Official World Golf Rankings technical committee.
“The Q-School, the new tie-up with the Sunshine Tour and more events this season, just shows we are headed for truly exciting times ahead. The journey that began in 2011 has picked up the momentum, which is a good sign, but we need more backing from the corporate world to put things on cruise control,” said Mohamed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the tour.
“When the tour came into being in 2011, we had just four events and now we have 21. The progression has been just been fantastic, indeed a major, major step forward,” he said.
Entries to the Q-School include an eclectic mix of experience and youth with English players leading the chart with 35 entries while 16 golfers, including four amateurs, will spearhead the Spanish challenge. Also featuring in the field UAE’s are Ahmed Al Musharrekh and Mustapha Deboub.
The course at Almenara will be a composite 18 holes, using the very tight Los Pinos for the front nine and the slightly more forgiving Los Alcornoques for the homeward nine, guaranteeing an exciting finish.