The iconic Abu Dhabu Golf Club in the UAE was the setting for FirstPoint USA’s latest international Golf Showcase as talented young players from around the world gathered to compete in the prestigious World Amateur Golf Ranking event.
Host venue for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and most recently the Hero Cup, the National Course proved a stern test for the players over the 54-hole competition, which featured both a Boys and Girls category.
Englishman Oscar Craig enjoyed a wire-to-wire victory in the boys event, winning by five shots from countryman Dominic Morton. The Jumeirah Golf Estates member carded rounds of 75, 74 and 76, holding off a final round challenge from Morton, who at one stage had cut the lead to just one shot. Oscar’s brother Mo Craig shared third spot alongside the hugely impressive 13-year old Alexander Rushika with both players a further three shots back, while Abu Dhabi-based American Paul Rezko impressed on the final day with consecutive rounds of 73 to storm up the leaderboard into fifth place.
The girls’ event was a closely fought contest, with Thailand's Zurich Kanokpornvasin eventually coming out on top after an exciting final round tussle with Turkey’s Deniz Sapmaz. It was Sapmaz who held a two-shot advantage after an excellent morning round of 74 on the second day, but Kanokpornvasin finished strongly with three birdies in her closing six holes to clinch the win on 226, 10-over par.
UAE golfer Hannah Alan (Emirates GC) finished third, while England’s Imogen Hall secured fourth spot.
FirstPoint USA’s Callum Macaulay, a former European Tour player and a golf scholar at the University of Mississippi, was impressed by the golfers on show:
“It was great to see so many different nationalities competing in our Golf Showcase, and we witnessed some fantastic golf over the three rounds. Conditions were challenging in the heat, but that reflects what the players can expect if they do go on to play collegiate golf, where 36-holes in one day is the norm for an event in some of the hotter parts of the States.
“I’d like to congratulate Oscar and Zurich on their victories and both players were deserving of their wins, playing some fabulous golf, and holding off the challenge from the chasing pack with some impressive clutch shots. Having the opportunity to play Abu Dhabi Golf Club in tournament conditions was a great experience for all the players and we look forward to hosting many other international golf showcase events in the future.”
Macaulay is one of several high-profile golfers who have benefitted from FirstPoint USA’s support in securing a golf scholarship in the States, with 2016 Masters Champion Danny Willett and two-time PGA Tour winner Russell Knox among the company’s other golfing alum. Willet, who reached No.1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, attended Jacksonville State University while Scotsman Knox was nearby at Jacksonville University before turning professional.
Taking place during the same week as the Ryder Cup, no fewer than 18 of the 24 players on Team Europe and Team USA attended college or university in the States on a golf scholarship.
To find out more about golf scholarships, contact Callum at firstname.lastname@example.org