Sun Jin Hwang and Kwang Duk Jang have impressively picked up where they left off as the 19th Xerox Corporate Golf Challenge (XCGC) made its bow at Jumeirah Golf Estates (JGE).

The Korean duo, who captured last year’s XCGC after an unstoppable late charge to the title, fired an 11-under-par 61 to win Thursday’s series opener by two shots on JGE’s Fire course. They are pictured above with Xerox Emirates General Manager Chris Govier collecting their reward from series prize sponsor Under Armour.

It comes after Hwang and Jang waltz last season’s grand final at Al Zorah with a 36-hole pairs betterball tally of 87 stableford points after reaching the decider in Ajman with victory in the final qualifier. The title earned the pair an unforgettable stay and play experience at St. Andrews, the home of golf.

Again representing Team Hankook, Hwang and Jang edged Paul Abouchacra and Hisham Shammas (Team Under Par) who carded a 63 on Fire in this year’s new betterball strokeplay (net) format.

Jan Hooftman and Ivan Fornazaric (Team Hytec International) signed for a 64 to secure third place on countback from Subhojit Biswas and Siddharth Dutta (S&S) who also qualify for this December’s 36-hole grand final to be held on Fire’s sister course Earth, the Greg Norman-designed layout which hosts the European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship each November.

In a commendable innovation unveiled at Fire, Dave Storey and Mike Piek (Buses and Tractors) won a new gross division with a three under 69. They will contest a special gross division at December’s grand final – a real lure for low handicappers who traditionally struggle to compete in corporate events across the Middle East.

Bahrain’s Royal Golf Club hosts the second round of the 2017 series this Saturday (April 22). The next qualifier in the UAE is scheduled for Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club on Thursday, May 4.

The multi-award winning Xerox Corporate Golf Challenge, which again returns to South Africa in 2017, is set to announce several new venues this year. Golf Digest Middle East is proud to be the series’ official media partner. Key sponsors are IG and City Tower.

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