MENA Tour The Gulf Club

Jordanian 13-year-old grouped with Darren Clarke for opening 36 holes of his country’s first pro event

Jordanian teen Shergo Kurdi with Darren Clarke and Sahl Dudin, Managing Director of Ayla Golf Club.

By Kent Gray
Shergo Kurdi is a huge Adam Scott fan, utterly beguiled by the Australian’s graceful swing. We suspect the Jordanian teen might be just as taken by Darren Clarke by week’s end in Aqaba.

In another grouping masterstroke by the MENA Tour, the 13-year-old will play the first two rounds of Jordan’s inaugural 54-hole Ayla Golf Championship in the inspiring company of the 2011 Open champion on Thursday and Friday.

England-domiciled Kurdi hopes to represent Jordan at the 2020 Tokyo and/or 2024 Paris Olympics and knows a front row seat watching the battled-hardened European Tour and Ryder Cup star ply his trade can only help make that dream reality one day.

“It will be some experience to savour,“ said Kurdi. ”I am sure I will be able to take a lot of positives from the week that will stand me in good stead for the future.”

Kurdi has already served notice of his burgeoning talent, winning the U-15 Pan-Arab Junior Championship and the Surrey county title before making the cut in last week’s Golf Citizen Abu Dhabi Open following rounds of 75-74-77 at Yas Links (the top 50 players plus ties – professionals and amateurs – make the 36 hole cut at MENA Tour events although there must be a minimum of 10 amateurs).

After first hitting balls at the age of two with his father, Moussa, Kurdi Jnr has reportedly won 113 junior tournaments, mostly in England where he pursues his golfing career.

“These are still early days, but the aim for him is to represent Jordan in the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympics and then, hopefully, the Summer Olympic Games in 2020, or maybe 2024,” said Moussa.

Kurdi is supported by the Jordanian Golf Federation and attached to Ayla Golf Club, a new stop on the Pro-Am developmental circuit. He also has the impetus of the MENA Tour’s “Project 300” behind him. The initiative aims to deliver at least one regional player to the Olympics by 2020. Players hoping to qualify for Tokyo must get within 300 in the world rankings, thus the moniker.

The Jordanian will be joined by some of the best amateur talent in the region on the Greg Norman designed- Ayla G.C., including Khalid Yousuf and Ahmed Skaik (both UAE), Saudi Arabia’s Othman Almulla and Oman’s Azaan Al Rumhy. The Arab players will all be hoping to match up to the standard set by English 21-year-old Todd Clements this season. The reigning English Amateur champion is a runaway leader of the amateur order of merit after runner-up finishes at the Dubai Creek Open and at Yas Links last week.

Whoever gets up to claim amateur honours will have played well, Clarke says.

“The course is just magnificent, one of the best I have played in recent years. It will present a fair test to the players this week,” Clarke said.

Related: Darren Clarke headlines strong field for Jordan as OOM race heats up


Kent Gray

Editor of Golf Digest Middle East. Has written about golf since 1989 and owned a suspect short game even longer.

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