His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco made his maiden appearance in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic a memorable affair, winning the afternoon shot-gun in the company of Henrik Stenson at Emirates Golf Club on Wednesday. Playing in the Chairman’s team, Prince Rachid, along with Karim Guessous and Omar Lahjormi, combined effectively with the world number six, carding an impressive score of 22-under to beat the Alvaro Quiros-led CNN team on a countback.
The foursome, who made the turn at five-under, produced a sizzling birdie blitz on the back nine to emerge worthy winners of the traditional curtain-raiser to the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
“All the three amateurs in the team played really well, especially His Royal Highness whose iron game was pretty strong on the back nine which we covered in 17 under,” said a delighted Stenson.
Earlier, Prince Rachid was received by Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi, on his arrival at the club and interacted with some of the leading players, including defending champion Rory McIlroy, who presented him with a specially-designed ‘golf in DUBAi’ golf bag with Nike clubs.
“We were extremely honoured to welcome His Royal Highness and appreciate all his support to our tournament, His presence meant a lot to us – it has taken the golfing ties between Morocco and the UAE to a new level,” said Buamaim, who is also the chairman of the MENA Golf Tour.
“If Morocco is fondly referred to as cradle of golf in the Arab world, it’s primarily because of the passion and years of investment made in golf by the Moroccan Royal Family.
“Thanks to the His Royal Highness’s support, Morocco has always been at the forefront of our drive to promote golf in the region. We have been organising the MENA Golf Tour events in Morocco since 2013 and share close bonds with the Hassan II Golf Trophy which is hosted by His Royal Highness and has been a European Tour event since 2010.
“His presence at the pro-am event will certainly inspire young Arabs to take to golf, which truly is a global game now. I sure the two Moroccans — Amine Joudar and Faycal Serghini — who will join the starting line-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic couldn’t have asked for a better motivation ahead of their tee times on Thursday.
Joudar is grouped with Sebastien Gros of France and England’s Matt Ford, the trio going at 11:35 while Serghini tees off at 13.05 in a three-ball which also includes Marcus Fraser of Australia and Richard Sterne of South Africa.