European Tour MENA Tour

UPDATED: MENA Tour champ finishes fifth as final round partner Jon Rahm wins home Open de España

By Kent Gray
A runaway victory in the MENA Tour Championship last October earmarked Henric Sturehed as a player to watch, something he underlined by earning graduation to the European Tour via Q-School the following month.

The six months since that memorable nine-stroke victory at Al Zorah in Ajman – save for his T-18 finish at Q-School – haven’t exactly gone to plan, seven straight missed cuts (including unwanted weekend’s off in Dubai, Oman and Qatar) culminating in further frustration at the Challenge Tour’s Kenyan Open late last month. But the 27-year-old Swede clearly has game bursting to get out as his performance at this week’s Open de España in Madrid illustrates.

Sturehed has a shot at a maiden European Tour title Sunday after rattling off scores of 67-68-66 at Centro Nacional de Golf to be -15 in one of the circuit’s more fabled championships. Whats more, he’ll do so in the company of world No. 4 and crowd favourite Jon Rahm in the penultimate group at 3.35pm (UAE time).

Related: Sturehed cruises to MENA Tour championship win

The MENA Tour peddles a “Making it Possible” hashtag and Sturehed is currently living that dream. Indeed, his third round 66 included two incredible shots good enough to claim first and third place in the shots of the day as judged by EuropeanTour.com. You can see them here, starting with a chip in on the 7th which earned third spot:

And how about this near hole-out:

Sturehed will start the final round two shots adrift of Irishman and 2017 British Masters champion Paul Dunne (-17) who will play the final round with Rahm’s fellow Spaniard Nacho Elvira (-16).

The developmental Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Tour continues to fulfil its remit of giving up and coming professionals and amateurs high level playing opportunities in perfect conditions.

“Henric’s performance underlines again why the MENA Tour is so important,” said MENA Tour co-founder David Spencer.

“As our MENA Tour patron Darren Clarke keeps telling all the players, you can practice all you want but you actually have to play in competitive circumstances to [have a chance of making the step up] and the tour is providing that opportunity. It’s also great to see the MENA Tour talked about on the global broadcast.

“This is the first cut Henric has made but that birdie on 18 yesterday to get into the penultimate group was extraordinary. He’s a star.”

OSN Sport 3HD will broadcast live coverage of the Open de España’s final round from 4pm (UAE time). It will be no cinch for the relatively inexperienced Swede, what with eight players within five shots of Dunne, Rahm included. But whatever happens, you can bet Spencer, his MENA Tour team and a swag of Sturehed’s peers will be glued.

Related: More reflected glory for MENA Tour as Clements cruises through Sunshine Tour Q-School

 

UPDATED: Henric Sturehed finished in a share of fifth place after closing with a 72.

The Swede, who started the final round two back, overcame a rough start with bogeys on the 3rd, 4th and 9th with gains on the 5th, 10th and 18th to finish on -15 alongside former European Tour winners Brett Rumford (Aus) and Mac Warren (Sco), five shots behind champion Jon Rahm.

Sturehed collected 49,650 for his first made cut on the European Tour after graduating from via Q-School last November.

Golf Digest Middle East

Launched in 2008, Golf Digest Middle East is the #1 golf magazine in the region, featuring local content and exclusive articles from the world's leading professionals

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