Ghala Valley Golf Club of Oman, hosted the first ever GCC U-15 Golf Championship on April 25-26, 2014.
The United Arab of Emirates (UAE) U-15 National Team’s journey to the Sultanate of Oman was successful. By winning the Team Net Category and having a strong performance from Al Balooshi to secure third place in the Individual Net Category this team paved the way for a strong future for the Emirates Golf Federation (EGF) and UAE National Teams.
With four other GCC countries being represent, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and hosting country Oman, the UAE U-15 National Team had outstanding competition to face.
The first ever GCC U-15 Golf Championship was hosted at the Ghala Valley Golf Club. The Ghala Valley Golf Club had a unique setting as the course is build into a natural wadi, a dried up river bed. To add to the scenery the course is back dropped by stunning mountains and has outstanding ocean views on particular holes. The Ghala Valley Golf Club had a handful of forgiving holes, but the tricky holes placed focus on the junior golfer’s course management skills and precision.
After having two days of practice rounds to familiarize themselves to the course and the conditions, the UAE U-15 National Team had a slow start in round one. In round one the team finished with a team net score of 144. This net score put them one shot behind Oman, who had a net score of 143 for second place and 13 shots behind Qatar, who had a team net score of 131.
The second round the UAE U-15 National Team made their comeback. With the headship of Saeed Al Balooshi of Dubai and a strong supporting cast in Mahmood Skaik of Dubai, and Mohammed Abdulla Saeed of Dubai, the UAE Team shot a final round of 145, net score. This was sufficient to claim the first place prize in the Net Category.
Saeed Al Balooshi spent the beginning of his golfing career in the EGF Development Program where he quickly picked up the game, and grew a strong passion for success. His leadership played a vital role in this event as he shot rounds of 73-71 for a net score total of 144. Al Balooshi won third place in the Overall Individual Net Category.
Mahmood Skaik has been making major strides coming into this event. Skaik is in the EGF Development Program and plays in the AJYAL Golf Championship – Par 3 League. Skaik had rounds of 71-75 for a net score total of 145. This was a great experience for Skaik and he will be looking to build on this and continue to strengthen his game.
Mohammed Abdulla Saeed capped off the UAE U-15 National Team. Being the youngest on the team Abdulla Saeed proved his game was mature enough to compete with the other golfers. Mohammed also has enhanced his game tremendously in the EGF Development Program and in the AJYAL Golf Championship – Par 3 League. Abdulla Saeed shot rounds of 83-82 for a net score total of 165.
EGF Coach Jason Froggatt commented after the event, “Our goal was for the boys to enjoy the experience and play to their handicaps especially as this was their first overseas major event for both Mohammed & Mahmood. This is exactly what we did and fortunately won first place in the team Net Category, hopefully this will give the team good momentum to progress to the next level”.
Winning the Gold at the event was hosting country Oman. Oman had a team gross score of 348, finishing nine shot ahead of the second place team. Coming in second place was Kuwait with a team gross score of 357. Round out the top three for the event was Qatar, capturing the third place prize with a gross team score of 367.
This event was a great experience for not only the UAE U-15 National Team but as well as for the other countries involved. With junior golf growing worldwide it is inspiring to witness the GCC creating and hosting new events for youngsters. These events are flawless examples of how to reinforce the game of golf and continue its passion, integrity, and development.
Photo Caption – The U15 UAE team at the prize presentation, with national team coach Jason Froggatt (left), Team manager & Secretary General of EGF Khalid Mubarak Al Shamsi (2nd from left) and Adel Zarouni, Vice chairman of EGF (3rd from right)