‘A dream come true’ for Rayhan Thomas as teenager earns place at Dubai Desert Classic
Teenage golfer Rayhan Thomas will see “a dream come true” when he takes part in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic alongside the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy next month.
Thomas, 17, earned his place at Emirates Golf Club by being the Mena Tour’s leading amateur, and will be joined by Order of Merit winner Craig Hinton.
Fellow Mena Tour members Luke Joy and Zane Scotland also earned their places at the Dubai Desert Classic by finishing second and third respectively in the Order of Merit. While Thomas and Hinton will be making their debuts, Joy and Scotland have both competed at the event before.
Thomas, who is based in the UAE and is currently ranked India’s No 1 amateur player, has also received an invite to play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
“Playing in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic will be nothing short of a dream come true,” Thomas said. “I am looking forward to the new challenge. It will be a great learning curve.
“I am still young. The more I can learn, the better — I love the game and I want to be the best one day.”
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As well as 14-time major champion Woods and world No 2 McIlroy, the Dubai Desert Classic will feature British Open champion Henrik Stenson and US Masters winner Danny Willett.
“I’m feeling very excited to be playing alongside such a world-class field,” said Hinton, who topped the 2016 Mena Tour Order of Merit after two wins and seven top-10s, including two runner-up finishes.
“I am quite confident if I play to my potential I can post good results. I will just play my own game and see what that leads to,”
“The (Mena) Tour is a perfect platform for players looking for opportunities to put their careers on the wing. It is the fastest growing golf tour in the world, one that offer plenty of incentives, including multiple starts on the European Tour and the Sunshine Tours.”
Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi has welcomed the addition of the Mena Tour players to the tournament and believes their participation in Dubai will only benefit their careers.
“It’s a big moment for the Mena Tour players and I am confident that they will be quite eager to give a good account of themselves as they have earned these invitations through hard-work they put in during the season,” he said.
“The intention behind inviting the top MENA Golf Tour players to the Omega Dubai Desert Classic is to provide them with playing opportunities at the highest level to fast-track their careers.”
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Updated: January 11, 2017 04:00 AM