The city of Aqaba is preparing to host Jordan’s Ayla Golf Championship in October which was previously announced by the MENA Golf Tour ― a successful UAE-based initiative launched by the Sheikh Maktoum Golf Foundation.
This is the first event of its kind in Jordan, with the Ayla Golf Couse being the only grass course constructed under international specifications. Lauded as the largest in the Levant region and one of the finest in the Middle East, the course opened its doors to players in September 2016 and has since been welcoming golf enthusiasts from around the globe. A series of six tournaments will make up the second half of the The MENA Golf Tour’s seventh season, the results of which will contribute to the global ranking of participating players.
The chairman of the MENA Golf Tour, Mohamed Juma Buamaim, expressed his joy that Jordan has joined the list of countries participating in the tour, saying: “Jordan has provided us with an opportunity to collaborate and support the sport of golf on a much grander scale, which will allow us to further highlight the importance of this tour that is quickly marching towards global recognition. We look forward to reaping the benefits of these combined efforts.”
Some of the key players, eligible to participate in the tournament are:
Once hailed as the next Tiger Woods when he won a nationwide competition, titled “Search for a Tiger”, at the age of 14. Since then Scotland has enjoyed a highly successful amateur career in addition to becoming the youngest English player ever to qualify for The Open Championship in 1999.
He turned professional in 2003, but a series of injuries undermined what appeared to be a flourishing career. And, although he won his European Tour card by finishing 96th on the Order of Merit in 2007, a wrist injury he suffered in Munich in 2008 further affected his golf game.
The nephew of former Attorney General Baroness Scotland, it took the MENA Tour route to resurrect his career, and the move paid off with the Englishman topping the Order of Merit standings in 2013. The affable Englishman, born on July 17, 1982, is a 10-time winner on the MENA Tour in addition of racking up four runner-up finishes since winning the inaugural event on the MENA Tour in 2011.
Dubai-based Indian prodigy Rayhan Thomas is one of the biggest stories of the MENA Tour. The youngster created history in 2016, becoming the first amateur to win a MENA Tour event, a feat he achieved at the Dubai Creek Open.
His other notable achievements include: the 2016 Scottish Boys’ Open Stroke Play title; the 2016 Qatar Amateur Open title, the 2015 Emirates Golf Federation’ Order of Merit title, the 2015 San Diego Masters Junior Series runner-up finish, the 2015 Faldo Series Middle East runner-up finish.
Born in Dubai on November 14, 1999, Thomas has been confirmed as the top qualifier for Trevor Immelman’s International team ahead of the inaugural Junior Presidents Cup at Plainfield Country Club in September. His golfing C.V. also includes a memorable run to the semifinals of the 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur. At present, he is ranked 58 in the world, making him the top-ranked amateur in his native India and the Middle East.