By Kent Gray
On his Twitter profile, Jack Woods describes himself as a “mad” Tottenham Hotspurs football fan and a lover of Formula 1 motor-racing. We’re not sure if he follows cricket but we’ll borrow a little parlance from that noble pursuit to highlight the fact the Englishman has rarely troubled the scorers (at least not how a golfer likes to do) during his four seasons on the UAE PGA Tour.
Until Monday that was when the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club teaching professional finally flicked the switch, freeing the undoubted golfing talent within to notch his maiden victory on the regional circuit at Arabian Ranches.
The 29-year-old typically did it in topsy-turvy style, taking advantage of a new driver to fashion six birdies, an eagle and even a triple bogey to negotiate the Ian Baker-Finch designed, Troon International-managed layout in 69 memorable strokes.
Woods, a regular contributor of instruction content for Golf Digest Middle East, edged Dong Lee (Emirates Golf Club) by a stroke with recent The Track, Meydan Golf winner Tom Buchanan (Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club), Michael Major (Dubai Creek), Jonathan Craddock (Emirates G.C.) and UAE PGA chief executive Luke Plumb in a four-way tie for third on 72.
“It’s nice to get the first win…finally,” Woods told GolfDigestme.com
“It’s taken far too long to get. I haven’t been that close in the past and have struggled with my game for a while but feel it coming together now which bodes well for the rest of the season.”
The new driver helped Woods birdie the 1st and 3rd at Arabian Ranches before he undid all the good work with the triple on the shortish par-4 6th.
“I didn’t hit that bad a shot off the tee, just a little right, but never found it.”
Woods responded well with further birdies on 7,8,9 and 11 before nestling an 8-iron to about 15ft on the par 5 13th en-route to his eagle.
“I had a couple of frustrating three putt bogeys in the last five holes to finish with a 69 but it’s great to get my first win which will hopefully allow me to kick on a get more this year.
“I drove the ball particularly well which I haven’t done for a while which makes the game much easier.”
Like all his peers, Woods is eyeing Dec. 10-11 and the UAE PGA’s 36-hole qualifier at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club for a spot in the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
“The chance to play with the top players in the world at the HSBC would be great but there’s a lot of top pro’s out here so I’ll need another good round [or two] to have a shout at that,” Woods said.
“I wanted to have a run at the Order-of-Merit [the UAE PGA’s overall title] this year so that’s my main goal this season.”
After a slow start to the season, Woods is off and running in that quest but the Hertfordshire lad is still looking up to club-mate Major who is the latest to top the OOM ahead of the next tournament at Trump Dubai on Dec. 3.