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The Gulf Club

Sensational: Pros defeat amateurs to claim Dubai Golf Trophy at Emirates Golf Club

The pro team celebrates after Sharma’s vital half-point in the final game. Matt Smith

By Matt Smith
The latest from the Dubai Golf Trophy

Welcome

The Dubai Golf Trophy destination day is upon us and it is the pro team that has the slight advantage as the singles matches get under way.

Now in its 23rd year, the Dubai Golf Trophy pits the UAE’s top 16 professional players against the top 16 amateurs in the region. Each team consists of 12 automatic qualifiers from the season-long UAE PGA tournaments and qualifying Emirates Golf Federation events across the UAE. Both team captains have an additional four ‘wildcard’ picks, and two ladies are selected to compete in the Dubai Golf Trophy Ladies Challenge Match to complete both sides.

The event is one of the highlights of the UAE golf calendar and closely follows the Ryder Cup format, where Europe’s finest take on the formidable talent of the United States. Just like the famous transatlantic clash, the Dubai Golf Trophy once again sees two teams of 16 battle it out in the team matches and then 16 matchplay singles.

The pros took a slender 8.5-7.5 lead into Day 2 at the Majlis Course after the first day of action at Dubai Creek.

Follow all the action and updates right here with Golf Digest Middle East.

11.38am
You can get the full lowdown on Day 1 right here, when the pros gained the upper-hand.

11.43am
The singles matches are now under way. Here is a quick glance at the match-ups:

11.55am
So the guys are all either out on course or polishing off a late breakfast before the slog ahead. From the early starters, it is all level-pegging so far. That will be changing very soon.

12.01pm
Amateur captain Khalid Yousuf is out on course now and he told Golf Digest: “WE will be looking to keep uo our recent domination. It is a great feeling for the amateurs to get one over the pros and we are aiming for seven in a row.”
They will need to make up that crucial extra point though if they are to keep up their run.

12.10pm
There is a little emotion on the sidelines of the competition today as a few boys are saying farewell. Toby Bishop is off to start his exams after this event (get studying!), while the non-playing Josh Hill will be joining him in the States after the summer after both boys landed golfing university scholarships.

12.25pm
The UAE’s very own Ahmad Skaik is here to cheer on the amateurs. He would have been playing today himself, but it was graduation day yesterday after four years of hard study at AUD. He is at the opposite end of the university journey to young Toby and Josh and professional golf now beckons. Keep an eye on Golf Digest Middle East for more on that later this month.

12.30pm
We are starting to see some colour on the leaderboard and it is all red so far for the amateur team (pros are in blue). Max Burrow has the advantage over The Els Club’s Sujjan Singh (2up), while Michael Bolt is also two down on amateur rival Yash Majmudar.

12.45pm
The red wave continues, with the amateurs up in seven matches, with only two blue stripes on the board. Singh is all-square again with Burrow but Majmudar, Hugo Garcia, Craig Vance, captain Yousuf, Ali Parlane, Bishop and David Guinee have the defending champions in the ascendancy. Graham Forbes and Olivia Jackson are the pros who have their noses in front.

12.55pm
Tom Nesbitt has also just gone in front against Sharjah’s Sam McLaren to put the amateurs up in eight of the matches. Looking good for them to retain the crown for a seventh time as it stands. The final two pairs are just teeing off, so plenty of action still to come.

1.01pm
More on the reason Skaik is not playing today… After his four years of studying, his mother insisted he attended graduation yesterday rather than tee up at the Creek. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime day and it was very important for my mum,” he said. “I could not let her down so we went to graduation instead. I hope the amateur boys do good and I will cheer them on today.”

1.10pm
Speaking of non-players, the pro captain Mike Major is looking on rather than competing like his counterpart Khalid and he is stationing himself near the ninth tee to keep abreast of the situation best he can. “It looks like the Ams have the slight advantage in the first couple of hours,” he told Golf Digest Middle East. “The weather conditions are not easy so anything can happen going into the back nine. It looks like it is going down to the wire.”

1.23pm
Khalid Yousuf just won the easiest of holes on the ninth to stop the rot after losing three on the bounce against Tom Buchanan. The Scotsman’s approach shot went right and, despite there being plenty of people around the area of the first tee, the ball was never to be seen again. It was a shame Khalid never got to hole out after firing in a belter to within a few feet. Still he was happy to pick it up with the hole won.

1.29pm
Back to the leaderboard and it was practically a ‘redwash’ until a few moments ago as the amateurs led in nine, with only Forbes flying the blue flag for the pros. However, as Major said, it can all change quickly and Jackson and Purna Sharma gained a bit of momentum to get ahead in their clashes with Sam Mullane and Barry Pavic respectively. The amateurs still lead in eight though!

Dubai Golf Trophy amateur captain Khalid Yousuf is all smiles after winning the ninth against Tom Buchanan. Matt Smith

1.37pm
That’s more like it from the pros as Jack Woods joins the blue parade, going 1up against David Guinee through 6.

1.47pm
A wee swing of the pendulum again as the pros are now up in five and pegging back the amateurs, who lead in six. remember that the pros have a point advantage coming in to today after winning the first day 8.5-7.5 at the Creek.

2.05pm
Thomas Ogilive, Ryan Smith and Oscar Yeomans are now all in blue as this event swings ever more in favour of the pros. They are now up in SEVEN! matches, with the amateurs holding up in only five.

2.10pm
We have our first results and it is all about the amateurs in the clubhouse. Majmudar thumped Michael Bolt 6&4 and Garcia was off the course early with a 4&3 victory over Steven Munro. That puts the amateurs ahead 9.5-8-5 , but there is a wave of blue still out on the course.

2.19pm
“It’s gonna be tight,” says Munro after his 4&3 loss to Garcia. While he was done a bit earlier than he liked, both he and Bolt still have a part to play as they will now head back out onto the course to cheer on their pro teammates, who are still up in seven of the remaining clashes.

3.05pm
Business time and the pros are biting back.

3.20pm
Just caught up with the man behind the whole show here today. “The DGT is something we are so proud of,” says Chris May, CEO of Dubai Golf. “This will go to the wire but we love to host it here at EGC.”

3.25pm
Sooooo, as predicted the pros have snatched back the advantage, with Forbes, Buchanan and Ogilvie all picking up the wins, while Bishop claimed a point for the amateurs. With two ties also in the bag, that is 5-4 to the pros on the day so far for a two-point advantage overall.

3.33pm
The tension is palpable now as Jackson — the first female to play in this event — claws it back to tie her match against Sam Mullane. That shared point means the pros are looking good. Yeomans has also wrapped things up 3&2 against Dan Byrne to give the pros a three-point advantage with (by my reckoning) five points still on the table.

3.41pm
The good news for the amateurs is that they are up in three of the remaining matches. However, Louis Gaughan is 3up on Rajhav Gulati in the final pairing, and that could prove vital for the pros. The other tie is all-square between Woods and Guinee.

The pro team’s Olivia Jackson earned a half-point against Sam Mullane. Matt Smith

3.43pm
Amateur captain Yousuf is biting his nails. “It will be tight. If we can swing a couple of games we will have a real chance.”

3.46pm
And Gaughan seals it! 3&2 over Gulati gives the pros a four-point margin. Meaning the amateurs need to claim all remaining four matches

3.47pm
It really is all happening as Tom Nesbitt claws one back for the amateurs, with a 3&2 win over Sam McLaren. The champions are three points down with three points on offer. But Guinee wins it 2up over Woods!!! If the amateurs can hold on in their remaining matches, we have a tie!

3.50pm
Boom! Nesbitt and Selvaraj take two more points for the amateurs!!! As it stands the pros have a one-point advantage with only Purna Sharma and Barry Pavic out on the course… Pavic is 1up for the amateurs.

4.09pm
Nerves of steel!!! Purna Sharma is the hero as he levels up against Pavic on 17 before halving the last. Hugs all round as that half-point is enough for the pros to end six years of hurt and reclaim the trophy at long last!!

4.11pm
“I was shaking so much. That was the hardest two putt of my life,” said Sharma after walking off the 18th. “It is such a relief to win.”

4.17pm
So with that breath-taking, nerve-jangling finale, it all means the pros win 16.5-15.5. It was looking easy earlier but it came down to the final putt. Now the pros will go celebrate and I will leave our updates there.

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