The fabulous Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates – home of the annual DP World Tour Championship – played host to another ‘world’ event, as the regional finals for the UAE and GCC World Corporate Golf Challenge qualifiers were played out over the weekend.
The quality of the prize demanded a real test of golf, and the Earth course, set up to test even the most hardened of amateur golfer – coupled with the equally tough combined Stableford format – did exactly that.
On a seriously hot day players were thankful for a breeze that gusted across the course, making club selection a further challenge, and scores were, not surprisingly, relatively low, although in no way detracting from the solid performances of the two winning teams.
With two regional finals taking place in parallel the winning teams will be flown complimentary by Qantas to the World Final which takes place at the Otaivos Dunes Golf Club in Cascais Portugal in July.
For the UAE, the pairing of John Gower and Roman Kawczak qualified for the all-expenses-paid trip with an excellent score of 64 combined Stableford points. With handicaps of 4 and 2 respectively, they will look back to the par-5 14th as the hole that sent them to the final as a birdie for John and a par for Roman gave them a combined score of 7 points on the second most difficult hole on the course.
The World Final in July will see the first GCC team to qualify, with David Minchin (8) and Chris Darnely (14) set to make history in Portugal. Despite only scoring 2 points on as many as 6 different holes, the pair were able to muster a creditable score of 59 points to win by 3 points from the team of Clinton Norris and Nathan Fisher, with Kristi and OB Sealey a further 2 points behind in third place.
The GCC winning score of 59 was the same as those for runners-up and third place in the UAE Final with Gareth Mordey and Aqeel Hemraj wining a countback from Miki Merza and Sammy Eldin.
Shot of the day was reserved for Miki Mirza, whose second to the Par-5 14th gave him a putt for an eagle 3 and the Movenpick nearest the pin in 3 prize, whilst a fabulous 2-series BMW for a hole-in-one on the 17th, sponsored by AGMC, went unclaimed. Fortunately for Roger Duthie AGMC’s player draw was won and he will enjoy a fabulous weekend’s test drive in a BMW X4.
Title Sponsor Visa and Tournament promoter OnCourse Golf used the Regional Finals as the perfect opportunity to launch Visa Golf Access – a fantastic initiative for Visa premium card holders, full details of which will soon be available on the Visa website.
After presenting the prizes, Visa’s Head of Program Benefits (CENEA) P.J. Hill announced that Visa would be continuing to sponsor the UAE and GCC World Corporate Golf Challenge in 2016 as part of a 3-tier program that makes Visa one of the biggest sponsors of amateur and corporate golf in the region.
Thanking Visa, Qantas, AGMC, Santa Fe Relocations, TaylorMade, Movenpick, Daman Investments and Dubai Duty Free for their generous support as sponsors, OnCourse Golf’s Steve Rutter also paid tribute to the JGE golf and catering teams whose contributions helped to make the day one of the most successful and enjoyable on the year’s golfing calendar.
Visa Nearest the Pin in 2 on Hole 1 Karsten Radon
Taylormade Longest Drive on Hole 2: James Voce
Santa Fe Relocations Nearest the Pin on Hole 4 Chris Darnely
Daman Investments Nearest the Pin on Hole 6 Dave Russell
OnCourse Golf Nearest the Pin in 3 on Hole 7 Gareth Bacon
Visa Nearest the Pin in 2 on Hole 10 Stuart Cameron
Visa Nearest the Pin on Hole 13 Catral Moran
Movenpick Nearest the Pin in 3 on Hole 14 Miki Mirza
Visa Nearest the Pin in 3 on Hole 18 Nathan Fisher
1st John Gower & Roman Hawczak 64 points
2nd Gareth Mordey & Aqeel Hemraj 59 points
3rd Miki Mirza & Sammy Eldin 59 points
1st David Minchin & Chris Darnley 59 points
2nd Clinton Norris & Nathan Fisher 56 points
3rd Kristi Sealey & OB Sealey 54 points