By Kent Gray
Saif Thabet’s timing can’t be faulted. Conjuring up a personal best round of 67 at Yas Links, the Emirati has waltzed away with the 6th UAE Presidents Cup in record fashion.
Thabet’s five-under, second-round loop of the Abu Dhabi links followed a wind-swept opening 73 and saw him capture the prestigious crown for the second time with a record four-under par aggregate of 140.
He beat Ahmed Skaik by eight shots after one bad back nine hole in the second round cost Skaik who signed for scores of 73-75. Hassan Al Musharrekh rounded out the podium after rounds of 73-80 for a 157 total.
“To win this event twice under the patronage of His Highness Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is a big honour,” said Thabet. “Having my name carved on the trophy and to go down in UAE golf history for firing the lowest score at this event means a lot to me. My hard work is paying off and by shooting my lowest round of my career is proof of that. I knew I was mentally and physically prepared. I think the turning point was when I got three birdies in a row during my second round on 11, 12, and 13.
“Moving forward I am going to get back to the driving range and gym and continue to work on my game. I will better my game through the EGF Order of Merit in prep for national team events. I also have my eye on making a spot on the amateur Dubai Trophy Team. I look forward to continue to represent my country locally and internationally.”
Abdulla Al Musharrekh won the net title with a 144 aggregate at the HSBC sponsored event which attracted a record field of 82, plus 18 players in the new Par 3 Championship.
Reema Al Heloo clinched back-to-back ladies titles with a 167 gross score for 23-over-par. Eida Al Muhairbi’s 146, two-over par, got the job done in the ladies net category.
Obaid Al Heloo shot a championship total of 177 to claim his first ever UAE Presidents Cup victory ahead of runner-up Rashid Al Emadi in the Junior division with Khaled Al Mutawa taking the net prize with a 178 total.
Yas Links’ challenging Academy Course hosted the Par 3 championship contested by 18 members of the EGF Foundation Squad aged between 8 and 15. Rashid Al Jassmy won ahead of his brother Sultan Al Jassmy with Saad Al Zarouni third on countback.