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By Kent Gray
Dubai golf prodigy Rayhan Thomas has sensationally won his second professional title as an amateur, turning the tables on South African rival Mathiam Keyser at the 11th King Hamad Trophy in Bahrain.
The Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club-attached Indian, who turned 19 earlier this week, fired a closing four-under 68 at the Royal Golf Club on Saturday to finish the 54-hole event on -17, five shots clear of Keyser.
After rounds of 66 and 65, Thomas came from a shot back overnight with the help of an eagle on the par-5 9th as 36-hole leader Keyser stumbled home with a 74. Englishman Josh White finished third, a further shot adrift on -11.
The victory enabled Thomas to extract a measure of revenge over Keyser who edged him by two shots in his defence of the 2017 Dubai Creek Open, the MENA Tour title he famously captured in September 2016 aged just 16.
Thomas, who is coached by U.S.-bound Dubai coach to the stars Justin Parsons, mightn’t have defended at the Creek but he did create global headlines by rattling off a world record equalling nine successive birdies in an opening round of 61, a course record tying round on his home course.
Thomas, who finished runner-up at the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship in Singapore last month, will follow in the footsteps of PGA Tour star Rickie Fowler when he plays collegiate golf for the Oklahoma State University Cowboys next year.