UAE HOST FANTASTIC NOMURA CUP AT YAS LINKS ABU DHABI

Japan wins team event, Chinese superstar Cheng Jin the individual event and UAE team perform well for the future

(Abu Dhabi, UAE) – The first ever Nomura Cup to be held in the GCC was declared a fantastic success by David Cherry, the Chairman of the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation at the prize giving last night attended by His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al Nahyan, the UAE’s Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development.

 UAE TEAM - DAVID CONDON, KHALID YOUSOF AL JASMI, AHMED SKAIK, KHALID MUBARAK AL SHAMSI, RASHID HAMOOD, ABDULLA AL QUBAISI, GREG HOLMES


UAE TEAM – DAVID CONDON, KHALID YOUSOF AL JASMI, AHMED SKAIK, KHALID MUBARAK AL SHAMSI, RASHID HAMOOD, ABDULLA AL QUBAISI, GREG HOLMES

Cherry reiterated his comments from last week about Yas Links “being the best links golf course in the world” and congratulated The Emirates Golf Federation and specifically its Chairman His Excellency Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi and Vice Chairman Adel Zarouni for putting on such “a fantastic event for Asia’s future stars of golf.”

Zarouni was pleased with the success of the Organising Committee: “It was a team effort. The Emirates Golf Federation were delighted to be given the opportunity to host such a prestigious event. We attracted the Nomura Cup’s largest ever field. The world class winners of the team and individual events are testament to Abu Dhabi, Yas Links and all our sponsors and partners of a job well done.”

The Nomura Cup 2015 went right down to the final putts on Day Four where Team Japan came out victorious. Japan Captain Katsuii Hotta was incredibly proud of their first Nomura Cup victory in 26 years, as Japan builds for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. He dedicated the victory Head Coach Gareth Jones, who made it 3-0 in the Nomura Cup as he was previously coach of Australia for their last 2 victories.

“We started a new program just 3 weeks ago.” commented Hotta. “This is a great unimaginable result. This is all about Gareth Jones. The Gareth Jones effect!” A combined team scores of -22 was enough to grasp success from current Asian Games Golf Gold medallists Chinese Taipei.

China’s Cheng Jin picked up a second major amateur Asian prize within a month with scores of 67, 69, 70 and 69 (-13) winning the individual prize in Abu Dhabi. The 2015 winner of the Asian Pacific Amateur Championship Jin commented: “This was a good tournament for me personally but I am disappointed for my team. I am excited for April 2016 as I will live every golfer’s childhood dream by playing at the US Masters at Augusta National following my victory a few weeks ago. I really enjoyed playing Abu Dhabi this week and I hope that I will come back soon to play in the HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.”

The UAE finished 20th in the Tournament but 3rd behind Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in the GCC participants. Head Coach Greg Holmes was pleased overall: “The Emirates Team players performed well in hard conditions.”

UAE Captain Khalid Mubarak Al Shamsi was also pleased: “We need to remain realistic with our ambitions. We are scoring better than in previous Nomura Cups, so that’s good. We have two juniors in our team and they are learning which is important.”

“Ahmed Skaik, our youngest team member, was 3 under through 3 on the final day. For us, this is great. Our team is improving and learning to play better in high pressure tournaments and I am happy for the future.”

Skaik, only 18, learned a lot at Yas Links Abu Dhabi: “I thrived on the experience this week. I shot 4 back to back rounds in the 70s, which I have never done before in a tournament. It was a great learning experience for the future. ”

JAPAN CLINCH 27th NOMURA CUP WITH THRILLING COUNTBACK CONCLUSION

Japan’s fourth man score pivotal to beating Chinese Taipei in Asia-Pacific Golf Team Championship victory at Yas Links Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI, UAE (October 25, 2015) – A 26-year wait is finally over for Japan as they have won the Asia-Pacific Golf Team Championship today at Yas Links Abu Dhabi. In a nail-biting countback finish, which called on Japan’s fourth man Toshiki Ishitoku’s closing round of 75 to count, the Japanese team edged out their competitors from Chinese Taipei to claim the 27th Nomura Cup.

TEAM JAPAN

TEAM JAPAN

Held at the world-renowned Yas Links Abu Dhabi from Thursday 22nd to Sunday 25th October, 27 teams from countries spanning the Asia-Pacific region descended on Abu Dhabi for the first time in the competition’s history.

The 72-hole strokeplay event in Abu Dhabi was organised by the Emirates Golf Federation and Yas Links Abu Dhabi on behalf of the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation.

The event was eventually decided on countback, after both Japan and Chinese Taipei finished the week on a total of 842, 22-under par, collected from the best three of four scores each day. The Japanese Team of Daisuke Matsubara, Naoyuki Kataoka, Takumi Kanaya and Toshiki Ishitoku received the trophy from His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al Nahyan, the UAE’s Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development during the Nomura Cup prize giving

Helped by an opening round 10-under par, 62 by Daisuke Matsubara, Team Japan have been on a sharp learning curve since welcoming their new coach, Gareth Jones little over three weeks ago. The team’s Captain, Katsuii Hotta was clearly buoyed by the victory and was quick to praise Japan’s new coach:

“It has been a long 26 years for Japan, this means a lot to us, this is huge. We started a new elite program just three weeks ago, this is a great and unimaginable start. This is all about Gareth Jones, The Gareth Jones effect! He really has led us to victory this week, as his preparation with technique and tactics have been fantastic. I let him control the team and I cannot thank him enough for what he has done.”

After a dominant recent spell from Australia who have won a record 10 Nomura Cups, the victory by Japan demonstrates their commitment to amateur golf, which Hotta can only see:

“With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in mind, we are aiming for a gold medal. Last year, we hosted the World Amateur Championships and we didn’t do very well. But this is an important step for Japan. We are trying to build a better program for our best amateurs golfers. This new program is designed to produce more successful golfers for our future.”

The team from Chinese Taipei consisting of Han-Ting Chiu, Chun-An Yu, Yung-Hua Liu and Sun-Yi Lu had lead from Day One but faltered in the final few holes of the award winning Kyle Phillips designed course. Korea was third on 16-under beating who finished on 15-under and New Zealand on 13-under.

Chinese superstar Cheng Jin won the individual event at the Nomura Cup with a dominant 13-under par total. He will play in the 2016 US Masters following his victory earlier this month at the 2015 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.

CHINESE TAIPEI LOOK TO CHIU AND YU TO GO WIRE-TO-WIRE AT 27th NOMURA CUP

Japan just three shots adrift of pacesetters heading into the final round of the
Asia-Pacific Golf Team Championship at Yas Links Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI, UAE (October 24, 2015) – Hang-Tin Chiu overcame a shaky finish to again be the low scoring arrowhead as Chinese Taipei remained on target to end an 18-year title drought at the 27th Nomura Cup today.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - OCTOBER 24: Chun An Yu from Chinese Taipei. Action from the third round of the 27th Nomura Cup/Asia-Pacific Amateur Golf Team Championship at Yas Links Golf Course on October 24, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Neville Hopwood/Getty Images for Pro Sport Group) *** Local Caption *** Chun An Yu; Yas Links; Abu Dhabi; Nomura Cup

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – OCTOBER 24: Chun An Yu from Chinese Taipei. Action from the third round of the 27th Nomura Cup/Asia-Pacific Amateur Golf Team Championship at Yas Links Golf Course on October 24, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Last champions of the biennial Asia-Pacific Amateur Golf Team Championship in Hong Kong in 1997, Chinese Taipei will tonight sleep uncomfortably on a lead trimmed from five strokes to three by eight-time winners Japan during today’s third round at Yas Links Abu Dhabi.

Saturday is traditionally moving day in a 72-hole golf tournament and so it proved with much nervy drama down the stretch and snakes and ladders action on the leaderboard.

Chinese Taipei lead on 622 to Japan’s 625 but made no progress in the third round, remaining 25 under par overall after Chiu’s one-under 71 and Yung-Hua Liu’s 72 was cancelled out by a 73 from Chun-An Yu. For the second successive day Sun-Yi Lu carded Chinese Taipei’s non-counting score, a 75, in a format where a team’s three lowest scores count towards each day’s total.

Singapore leapfrogged into third place on 636, 13 shots off the pace, while New Zealand (637) and Australia (638) round out the top five heading into a final round which promises much tension, especially on the last three tricky, water-fringed holes of Yas Links challenging back nine.

South Korea, who have been conspicuous by their absence atop the leaderboard this week, made the greatest progress on moving day, Jae Kyeoung Lee’s best of the day 66 and a four-under 68 from Sung-ho Yun propelling them into three way share of sixth place alongside China and Thailand. Thailand slid out of the bronze medal position with a disappointing five over aggregate for round three.

Chiu actually extended his lead atop the individual leaderboard by a shot, moving to 203, -13, to head China’s Cheng Jin and Japan’s Daisuke Matsubara by three strokes. But a scrappy finish from the Chinese Taipei No.1 will give Jin and Matsubara great hope, not to mention Matsubara’s teammates in the all-important teams’ competition.

A double bogey six on the strategical conundrum that is Yas Links’ 16th hole followed two earlier inward nine dropped shots as Japan ratcheted up the pressure courtesy of a pair of 71s from Naoyuki Kataoka and Takumi Kanaya. It could have been worse for Chinese Tapiei but Chui will take solace from scrambling a sand-save par on the long par 3 17th and somehow avoiding another dropped shot despite slicing his tee shot off the 18th tee so far right it ended up on the adjacent 10th fairway.

Chinese Taipei’s non-playing captain Tim Sung admitted the pressure had got to his young side but believes they have the mettle to win down the stretch tomorrow.

“The team score was even par today so fortunately we are still leading, but only by three shots and three shots for a team championship is nothing, maybe one hole it is wiped out,” said Sung who was also captain when Chinese Taipei last won in Hong Kong 18 years ago.

“They just have to play their own [game] and keep on playing. The front nine, I think some holes are pretty easy so we need to have some birdies there otherwise the back nine we’ll be under risk because 16, 17, 18 are pretty dangerous holes. If we would make under par tomorrow, say 210, six under par, that would be good.”

Sung has high hopes Chun-An Yu will come good after struggling with his putter following an opening 63 with rounds of 71-73. He also believes he has identified the issue that lead to Chiu’s loose finish today.
“Today, the pressure, I think I can accept that because our best player is Chun-An Yu and he didn’t play well the last two days, his putting no good today. But even the best players in the world sometimes don’t putt well. Still he shot nine under par in the first round so it could be heaven tomorrow…we’ll see,” Sung said.

“Hang-Tin Chiu did well on the front nine, I think he was four under, but the back nine I think he ran out of his energy. When he played the last few holes, his body is so inconsistent, not steady, so his shots are out of control and he dropped some shots and that influenced our team score.

“Today with his putts also, he was thinking hard, which is good, but maybe he is very, very tired. Maybe tomorrow, after a good sleep… I think they are ready for tomorrow and we must just do our best.”

The leading teams tee off at 10.30pm on Sunday.

CHINESE TAIPEI FORGE TO FIVE SHOT HALFWAY LEAD AT 27th NOMURA CUP

Han-Ting Chiu and team-mate Chun-An Yu first and second individually as Chinese Taipei ease away from joint overnight leaders Japan during second round of the Asia-Pacific Golf Team Championship at Yas Links Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI, UAE (October 23, 2015) – Non-playing captain Tim Sung insists his young Chinese Taipei team have “just come here for learning.” But at the halfway stage of the 27th Nomura Cup at Yas Links Abu Dhabi, they are the ones taking their amateur men’s golf rivals to school.

Han-Ting Chiu (Chinese Taipei)

Han-Ting Chiu (Chinese Taipei)

After sharing the first round lead with Japan at a scarcely believable 18 under par, Chinese Taipei continued to shock even themselves today by forging to a five stroke buffer atop the Asia-Pacific Amateur Golf Team Championship leaderboard.

Led by Han-Ting Chiu’s 65, the lowest round of the day, the Chinese Taipei quartet returned a best three of four card team aggregate of 209 (-7) in round two. That left Sung’s team with a 36-hole total of 407, a combined 25 under par. Japan is second on 412 while Thailand head into Saturday’s third round in the bronze medal position on 419, 12 shots off the pace.

As 10-time champions and the winners of seven of the last eight Nomura Cup titles, Australia were inevitably installed as white hot favourites this week. But like their equally fancied trans-Tasman neighbours New Zealand, the Australian’s have found the early going tough at Yas Links. Australia were sixth overnight, a whopping 20 shots off the pace, while New Zealand were only slighter better positioned for a weekend charge in fifth place on 425, 18 shots back.

Chinese Taipei, meanwhile, slipped into Abu Dhabi under the radar which bemused amateur golf aficionados given they had won the gold medal at last year’s Asian Games in South Korea.

But with Chiu and Chun-An Yu in particularly fine form, it is fair to say Chinese Taipei is no longer a title afterthought.

Yu, who backed up his sizzling opening 63 on Thursday with a one-under 71, is the only survivor from the victorious Asian Games campaign with the remainder of that celebrated team now chasing further fame and a new fortune in the paid ranks. But the well of amateur golf talent is obviously deep in Chinese Taipei as Chiu, Yu, Yung-Hua Liu (73) and Sun-Yi Lu (a non-counting 76 yesterday) have shown.

Chiu tops the individual leaderboard on 132, 12 under par, while Yu shares second place on 134 alongside Thailand’s Witchayanon Chothirunrungrueng and Japan’s Daisuke Matsubara.

Sung is understandably thrilled with Chinese Taipei’s early play.

“It’s a low score, a lovely score,” said Sung who was captain the last time Chinese Taipei won the Nomura Cup, 18 years ago in 1997.
“We had a great start in the first round, 18 under par, and today seven under par. Today we had a little struggle but our best player Han-Ting Chiu [67-65], he’s shot 12 under par, so that’s an incredible [performance] for me.
“Actually I didn’t expect we can win this tournament even though we were the champions from last year at the Asian Games. The Nomura Cup is more competition with Australia and New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, they are all good teams, their players are all really good and we have only one player from the Asia Games and two very young, inexperienced players.

“After two rounds, 25 under par, that’s pretty nice but the tournament is only halfway so we will see. Whatever the result is it is very good experience for them, we have just come here for learning.”

Sung said his team simply needed to concentrate in their game plan which is templated around avoiding trouble off the tee. Yas Links, Sung said, was an “easy chipping course” but putting was more difficult. His quartet of players will have to maintain their hot hands on the greens if they are go all the way given the scoring Sung predicts this weekend.

“Before the tournament, I said to them, if we want to win, 50-under-par would be needed to beat Australia, Korean and Japan.

“But in any tournament you don’t really know if you have a chance to win until the last nine holes. So there are still 27 holes to go until then so we just have to play every shot with authority until then. You need to tee shot well, and putt well. This course is easy to chip but maybe difficult to putt.”
Singapore, who remain fourth overall, 13 shots off the pace, enjoyed an encouraging second day, matching Chinese Taipei’s 209 aggregate thanks chiefly to a 68 from recent South-east Asia Amateur Championship winner Gregory Foo and a 69 from James Leow.

Japan, too, remain firmly in the hunt despite a second round total of 214, the worst day two aggregate of the major contenders. Japan’s total included Daisuke Matsubara’s even-par 72, 10 shots worse than his course record in the opening round.

Matsubara set off yesterday as he had on Thursday, back-to-back birdies getting him to -12 individually. He made the turn in two under 34 and got it to -13 overall with a birdie on the par 5 11th. But the wheels fell off with a nightmare triple bogey six on Yas Links’ short par 13th, the second easiest hole on the course, and a nervous bogey on 14. Matasubara did gain a shot back on the par 5 18th to halt the bleeding and sign for an even par 72 but Japan will need more from their leading player if Chinese Taipei is to be overhauled this weekend.

The United Arab Emirates endured a tough day, left-handed teen Ahmed Skaik’s 79 the highlight as the host slipped behind Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabian in the Arab nation battle within the battle at this championship. Rashid Hamood (80), Khalid Yousuf (82) and Abdulla Al Qubaisi (non-counting 86) will look to take their second round frustration out on Yas Links over the weekend with the UAE on 463, 31 over par and 56 shots behind Chinese Taipei.

MATASUBARA’S COURSE RECORD HELPS JAPAN CLOSE IN ON CHINESE TAIPEI AFTER OPENING ROUND OF NOMURA CUP

Japan’s Daisuke Matasubara shoots sizzling 62 as bad light suspends play with Chinese Taipei leading the Asia-Pacific Golf Team Championship after the opening round at Yas Links Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI, UAE (October 22, 2015) – Japan’s Daisuke Matasubara finished in the dark but still managed to set the 27th Nomura Cup alight with a sizzling course record 62 on an opening day of slow but spectacular scoring at Yas Links Abu Dhabi.

Chun-An Yu en-route to a first round 63 at the Nomura Cup, Yas Links Abu Dhabi

Chun-An Yu en-route to a first round 63 at the Nomura Cup, Yas Links Abu Dhabi

Matasubara reeled off eight birdies and an eagle three on Yas Link’s par 5 11th hole to finish 10-under and set Japan up as a serious title contender at the biennial Asia-Pacific Amateur Golf Team Championship.

Chinese Taipei held the clubhouse lead overnight with a team aggregate of 198, 18-under-par (the lowest three of four scores count towards the team total in each round).

Japan were also at -18 but two players, Takumi Kanaya and Toshiki Ishitoku, must return early on Friday morning (UAE Time) to play Yas Link’s tricky, water-fringed par 5 18th to complete their first rounds.

With Matasubara at -10, Naoyuki Kataoka also in at -4 and Kanaya unlikely to count at level par, the spotlight will be on Ishitoku, who was -4 when play was suspended due to darkness, to see if he can birdie the 18th to hand Japan the first round lead.

Thailand, helped immeasurably by a 64 from Witchayanon Chothirunrungrueng, will start the second round in third place at -10, five shots ahead of Singapore in third. New Zealand (-4), defending champions Australia (-3), China (-2) and India (-1) round out the top seven with the remaining 20 nations all over par.

An opening round of one-under 71 from Khalid Yousuf set up an encouraging start from the United Arab Emirates with the host nation in a share of 10th place overnight alongside GCC rivals Qatar on +6.

Whatever happens early tomorrow with Ishitoku, this Nomura Cup is off to sensational start scoring wise despite rounds frustratingly exceeding six hours.

Travis Smyth, the No.1 player for defending champions Australia, predicted before the tournament that 10 under over 72 holes would go close to topping the individual leaderboard at Yas Links. That theory has been destroyed after just 18 holes by Matasubara who took advantage of the lighter afternoon breeze, soft greens and a hot putter to slash two shots off the amateur course record set by Mattias Eggenberger in the 2013 Yas Links Open.

Chun-An Yu held the course record for a few precious moments, his 63 propelling Chinese Taipei to the clubhouse lead. Yu, sixth at the recent IMG Academy Junior World Golf Championships and member of the gold medal winning Chinese Taipei team at last year’s Asian Games in South Korea, was ably backed up by Han-Ting Chiu (67) and Sun-Yi Lu (68) while Yung-Hua Liu’s two over 74 was the non-counting score.

 

But the day ultimately belonged to Matasubara.“I was thinking of just finishing the 18 holes in the same day, that’s all that was on my mind,” said Matasubara who had to settle for a par on the par 5 18th in the descending gloom.
Matasubara praised Japan coach Gareth Jones and non-playing captain Katsuji Hotta for his fine start.“We made a game plan with Gareth and the captain during practice. I stuck to what they said and just remained calm and committed to each shot, so that’s why it all came together today. I played really well.”

http://egfgolf.com/matasubaras-course-record-helps-japan-close-in-on-chinese-taipei-after-opening-round-of-nomura-cup/

Matasubara believes Japan are in the right space mentally to push on to the title.“The team have not finished [the first round] but they are all playing very well like me. We just have to repeat the game plan from Gareth and the captain and we will be fine…if I do that, and we do that, I and we will come out on top.”

Australia were among the earlier starters which meant Travis Smyth, Brett Coletta, Harrison Endycott – who carded matching one-under 71s, and Ben Eccles (a non-counting 72) faced the stiffer morning breezes.

At three under par, the defending champions are a whopping 15 shots off the pace but Smyth isn’t panicking. The Australians will be hoping a visit to the nearby Ferrari World theme park overnight had them reeved up for round two.

“There was nothing to chase going out early but our main goal this week is to play our own game, not worry about anyone else because we all believe we can beat anyone of these guys out here,” Smyth said.

“It’s only day one. Anything can happen because three scores count every day, there’s a lot of scores to added up, a lot of golf to be played. You can’t win it on day one but you can definitely set yourself up. We’ve just got to stick to the game plan and I think we’ll be fine.”

The UAE were delighted with their opening round efforts. As well as Yousuf’s 71, a round that mixed five birdies with two double bogeys, 18-year-old Ahmed Skaik produced a fine 75 and Rashid Hamood a 76. Abdulla Al Qubaisi started fast with birdies on the opening two holes but faded to a non-counting 84 and will look to rebound in round two today.

“I believe our first round at the last Nomura Cup [in Thailand two years ago] was 19 over par so we’ve cut that by two thirds which is pretty good,” said Yousuf.

“Everyone is really happy, impressed with the guys. We just have to follow on from today and not get too far ahead of ourselves. We’re happy with today but there are three rounds left and a lot of golf to play.

“And as you can see from the scores from the other teams, they’re not going to back down.”

UAE EYE BATTLE WITHIN THE BATTLE AT 27th NOMURA CUP

Host nation aims for a creditable mid-table finish at Yas Links Abu Dhabi on the eve of the biennial Asia-Pacific Golf Team Championship.

 

ABU DHABI, UAE (October 21, 2015) – An intensive international build-up focused on improved biomechanics, fitness and mental game preparation has the United Arab Emirates in a bullish mood on the eve of the 27th Nomura Cup at Yas Links Abu Dhabi.

UAE team prepare for 27th Nomura Cup

UAE team prepare for 27th Nomura Cup

UAE coach Greg Holmes has set Khalid Yousuf, Rashid Hamood, Abdulla Al Qubaisi and promising teen Ahmed Skaik the goal of winning the Arab nation “battle within the battle” at the Asia-Pacific Golf Team Championship being hosted by the Emirates Golf Federation for the first time from Thursday to Sunday.

It’s a lofty objective given the UAE’s recent international form including a disappointing fifth placing, admittedly with an understrength senior team, at GCC Championship in Kuwait last May. But with his top players back from military duty and a buildup that has seen the team play and train in Germany and at the European Tour Performance Institute in Terre Blanch, France, Holmes is looking for a much improved showing.

“We’d definitely like to be at the top end of the Middle East table with the likes of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan [plus Iran and Lebanon],” said Holmes. “And if we could finish in the top half overall that would be really nice,” Holmes said.

“We’re obviously playing some very serious countries here…teams like Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Chinese Taipei, they pick from much bigger pools of talent and we haven’t had the U15 and U18 players pushing through to the senior level. We’re working on that now and have had some good results at the junior level and with our women’s programme.”
For now, the UAE team has to focus on extracting every last ounce of ability out of the players they do have and to that end Holmes is pleased with the buildup the Emirates Golf Federation has offered his team.

“We’ve done a lot of work on our biomechanics and I have to say the guys are pretty fit as well. We’ve also done a lot on the mental game, our pre-shot routines, a lot of process work,” Holmes said,

“It’s about focusing on the shot at hand, the process and not worrying about the result. Now it’s time to take that out onto Yas Links. The last two days of practice has been great. They’re all hitting it pretty well, they’re all good ball strikers, but now it’s obviously about getting that going in the tournament.”

The 27th edition of the biennial Nomura Cup, featuring 27 four man teams, tees off tomorrow morning.

The lowest three of four scores count towards the team total on each day of the 72-hole stroke-play tournament which is second only to the Eisenhower Trophy world amateur teams’ championship in terms of size and global stature.

Australia, which has won a record 10 Nomura Cups including seven of the last eight titles, is expecting stiff competition from New Zealand, eight-time winner Japan, 2009 champion South Korea, China and Chinese Taipei at Yas Links. China’s challenge is spareheaded by Cheng Jin, the 17-year-old who won the weather-reduced Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Hong Kong earlier this month to earn himself a dream start in the first major of 2016, the U.S. Masters at Augusta National.

ASIA-PACIFIC GOLF CHIEF RATES NOMURA CUP VENUE THE “BEST LINKS COURSE IN THE WORLD”

High praise for Yas Links Abu Dhabi ahead of the 27th Asia-Pacific Golf Team Championship.

ABU DHABI, UAE (October 20, 2015) – The chief of the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC) has added his respected voice to the chorus of global praise for Yas Links as the Abu Dhabi course prepares to host the 27th Nomura Cup amateur men’s team championship this week.

2015 Nomura Cup - Abu Dhabi Opening Press Conference. (Left to right) Dominic Wall, R&A Director of Asia Pacific - H.E. Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, EGF Chairman, - Dr. David Cherry, APGC Chairman

2015 Nomura Cup – Abu Dhabi Opening Press Conference. (Left to right) Dominic Wall, R&A Director of Asia Pacific – H.E. Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, EGF Chairman, – Dr. David Cherry, APGC Chairman

APGC Chairman Dr. David Cherry described the Kyle Phillips design, which fringes Abu Dhabi’s F1 motor-racing circuit and the western shores of Yas Island, as the “the best links course in the world” at today’s tournament opening media conference today.

Pressed further, Dr. Cherry conceded his comments “may disappoint my Scottish friends” but stood by his call on the 7414-yard, par 72 layout which has been presented in pristine condition by Yas Links’ New Zealand superintendent Michael Clark.

“I mean that and I would say that anywhere, even in Scotland,” the Australian administrator said. “It’s a magnificent layout…it’s just a pure links golf course. It’s challenging, it’s tough enough for a major event such as this…what else do you need?”

Dr. Cherry’s endorsement is a major fillip for Yas Links Abu Dhabi and the Emirates Golf Federation which is organising the Nomura Cup on behalf of the APGC.

Australia, which has won a record 10 Nomura Cups and seven of the last eight titles, will defend its title at Yas Links as 27 countries battle over 72 holes from Thursday to Sunday in an event that is second only to the Eisenhower Trophy world amateur men’s team championship in terms of size and stature.

yas-links-abu-dhabiThe praise is nothing new for Yas Links Abu Dhabi with the club ranked the 24th best course in the world (outside of the U.S.) by Golf Digest. It has previously rated as high as 20th in the trusted magazine’s illustrious list.

Dr. Cherry’s bold call will raise eyebrows given the famed links courses ranked above Yas Links – Royal County Down is No.1 while Open Championship venues St Andrews (Old Course), Muirfield, Turnberry (Ailsa course), Carnoustie and Royal Birkdale are inside the top 20.

But it is still music to the ears of the likes of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) which promotes the emirate’s six courses worldwide through its ‘Golf in Abu Dhabi’ initiative.

“I mean you’ve already got Abu Dhabi Golf Club [host of the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship] and Saadiyat Beach is also a fantastic golf course, but this [Yas Links] is the pick of them,” Dr. Cherry said

Cherry said the APGC would consider bringing future events to Abu Dhabi and his comments on Yas Links won’t go unnoticed globally. EGF vice chairman and Nomura Cup organising committee chairman Adel Zarouni has been quoted previously, in his role as Arab Golf Federation (AGF) Secretary-General, that a bid for the Eisenhower Trophy would be the obvious next step if they were successful in hosting the Nomura Cup.

That appears guaranteed given Dr. Cherry’s early praise.“This is a very attractive place to come and particularly with the support of the Emirates Golf Federation. Adel Zarouni has been amazing the way he has supported this event ,” Dr. Cherry said.

“The infrastructure is fantastic here, all the hotels nearby, a major airport, that’s a huge plus, people can fly straight in. They’ll have more major events here, absolutely.”

Meanwhile, Cherry forecasts a bright future for women’s game in the region after female golf recently came under the umbrella of the APGC. An Asia-Pacific women’s championship is on the horizon.

“The Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship [men] has been a major success and we now owe it to the women, because they dominate professional golf, and women’s amateur golf in this region is also incredibly strong.

“I want women’s golf in this area of the world, the Gulf states, to do whatever they can to promote young Muslim women to play golf. I know there might be a bit of a barrier but I’m hoping we can overcome that and make them feel comfortable to be playing golf.”

UAE TEAM LOOKING TO IMPRESS ON HOME SOIL AT NOMURA CUP

(Dubai, UAE) – The top amateur golfers in the United Arab Emirates are ready to test their mettle on the worldwide stage as the Nomura Cup comes to the Middle East for the first time in its 52-year history from October 22- 25.

UAE Team (L-R - Khalid Yousuf, Ahmed Skaik, Coach Greg Holmes and Rashid Hamood)

UAE Team (L-R – Khalid Yousuf, Ahmed Skaik, Coach Greg Holmes and Rashid Hamood)

 The prestigious tournament, taking place at Yas Links, Abu Dhabi, provides the opportunity for the UAE team to compete against 26 other amateur teams from countries like: Australia, China, India and Japan which is a fresh and exciting challenge compared to playing close rivals in the Middle East region.

The UAE are taking the Nomura Cup extremely seriously. Coach Greg Holmes decided to travel to Terre Blanch in France with his team members: Khalid Yousuf, Rashid Hamood, Abdulla Al Qubaisi and youngster Ahmed Skaik to visit the European Tour Performance Institute (ETPI), in preparation for the tournament.

The team benefitted from Jean-Jacques Rivet’s biomechanics guidance and advice and Holmes said: “The players were measured physically and any errors that they needed to work on they could do so. They’ve benefited a lot from the trip.”

The UAE team understand the competitiveness of the tournament but they have a point to prove on home turf this year. One member of the team is new to the tournament after successfully making the step-up from the UAE Junior Golf Team.

Ahmed Skaik hopes to make an impact for the senior side in an event where they haven’t experienced much success in previous years. “I hope we show up in this tournament and perform well, we’ve put a lot of preparation in and we’re really looking forward to it,” said the talented Emirati.

The youngster played an invaluable role when the UAE Junior side won the prestigious GCC Championship for the second year in succession at Almouj Golf, The Wave, Muscat, Oman in 2014.

He is now cherishing the opportunity to compete against countries from all over the Asia Pacific region in the Nomura Cup.

“We’re used to playing against the Arab nations,” said Skaik, “but it’s good to play against players from Australia, Japan, China and Korea. They have top players and it’s good to compete and learn from them.”

UAE fans should be buoyant with the form of the team. Khalid Yousuf, the focal point of the UAE side, has had a splendid season. He lifted the President’s Cup for the second time in three years at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club after overcoming Nomura Cup teammate Rashid Hamood. Yousuf has played in the Dubai Desert Classic twice, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and the Clariden Leu Singapore Masters in previous years to gain valuable experience in playing on the big stage.

The UAE go into the event with huge aspirations and confidence. It will be intriguing to see if their performance is as impressive as their preparation deserves.

 The 27 teams competing in the 2015 Nomura Cup:

Australia, Bahrain, China, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, Chinese Tapei, UAE, Indonesia and Iran.

DUBAI DUTY FREE EXTENDS IRISH OPEN SPONSORSHIP UNTIL 2018

 

* DDF unveils new three year deal as title sponsor

* Rory Foundation extends involvement for the same period

* The K Club to host the 2016 Irish Open

*Prize money for the 2016 championship increased by 60 per cent to €4million

* Tickets available to buy now

A new three year agreement with title sponsors Dubai Duty Free headlines a number of important announcements unveiled by The European Tour today in relation to the 2016 Irish Open.

NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the 10th hole during the Pro-Am round prior to the Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 27, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND – MAY 27: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the 10th hole during the Pro-Am round prior to the Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 27, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Following the huge success of the championship at Royal County Down in May – a ‘sold-out’tournament, which attracted more than 100,000 fans in Dubai Duty Free’s first year of involvement – the world’s leading airport retailer’s significant investment until 2018 is a major boost for the tournament.

In addition, four-time Major Champion Rory McIlroy has confirmed he will continue as tournament host on behalf of his charitable foundation for the next three years, starting with next year’s tournament which will be played at The K Club in County Kildare from May 19-22.

In a further significant move for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation, The European Tour is also delighted to announce the prize fund for the 2016 championship will increase by 60 per cent, rising from €2.5million this year to €4million for next May’s edition. It means the Irish Open will have one of the highest prize funds on The 2016 Race to Dubai outside the Major Championship and World Golf Championship events.

McIlroy welcomed today’s announcements saying: “The Irish Open has always meant so much to me, so I am really excited to announce my commitment to host the tournament, on behalf of the Rory Foundation, for the next three years.

“I would like to thank Colm McLoughlin of Dubai Duty Free and Keith Pelley of The European Tour for supporting my vision to develop the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation into one of the leading events on The European Tour’s schedule over the next three years.

“I was delighted with the support I received, not only from the players who competed this year, but also from the fans who came along to the Irish Open at Royal County Down in May – they made it another sell-out tournament. I am sure The K Club – on the 10th anniversary as host of the 2006 Ryder Cup – will be an excellent venue for the 2016 Irish Open.”

Outside of the Irish Open, Dubai Duty Free is associated with The European Tour as supporters of both the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai and the Dubai Desert Classic – won at the Emirates

Golf Club by McIlroy for the second time in February – while their golf portfolio also includes the Dubai Ladies Masters, as well as a series of high-profile events including the annual Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup, Dubai Duty Free UAE Nationals Cup, Dubai Duty Free Golf Cup and Dubai Irish Golf Society tournament.

The company is also a keen supporter of tennis – through the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships – and horseracing, particularly as sponsor of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, one of Ireland’s most prestigious races which is held at The Curragh in June.

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free said: “We are delighted to announce our title sponsorship of the Irish Open after a terrific inaugural sponsorship year in Northern Ireland earlier this year. The fact that the Rory Foundation will continue to host the event was central to our decision moving forward. We are also pleased that as a result of our sponsorship commitment, The European Tour has announced an increase in prize money to €4million making it very appealing for international players to participate. The staging of the 2016 tournament at The K Club, which has recently undergone a major expansion, is another positive. With all these things combined, we are looking forward to a great event next May.”

It will be the first time The K Club has hosted the championship and will come ten years after it staged The 2006 Ryder Cup, where Ian Woosnam memorably led Europe to a record-equalling 18½-9½ victory over the United States and 25 years since it opened. The K Club previously hosted the European Open from 1995 to 2007, a tournament which boasted an illustrious list of winners including Major Champions Michael Campbell, Darren Clarke, Retief Goosen and Bernhard Langer, alongside former European Tour Number Ones Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood.

Sir Michael Smurfit, owner of The K Club, said: “I am delighted that in conjunction with The European Tour, the Rory Foundation and Dubai Duty Free have chosen The K Club as the venue and home for the 2016 Irish Open.

“We look forward to the year ahead greatly as along with celebrating the 25 year anniversary of The K Club and the ten year anniversary of the staging of The Ryder Cup, it will also be the year that I celebrate my 80th birthday.

“I am confident that the team at The K Club will extend their warmest hospitality to Rory and the players, his guests and the sponsors Dubai Duty Free and make all concerned proud as we showcase the best in golf, luxury, Irish warmth and hospitality. I am sure I am joined by all at The K Club and associated, including our members, in looking forward to what promises to be a momentous occasion.”

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive Officer of The European Tour, said: “The Irish Open is one of the most prestigious and most eagerly anticipated tournaments on The Race to Dubai, and having two powerful global brands in Dubai Duty Free and Rory McIlroy supporting the event as well as a record prize fund, will ensure that continues.

“We are delighted that Dubai Duty Free have pledged themselves to the tournament through until 2018 and we thank them for their continued commitment and vision, not just to the Irish Open but to The European Tour as a whole.

“Rory is a loyal supporter of The European Tour and the Irish Open, and he is one of the game’s most recognisable superstars who helped attract a world-class field to this year’s tournament. Naturally we are thrilled he will continue as host of the Irish Open for another three years.

“We are also very happy to be taking the tournament to The K Club. I vividly remember watching The 2006 Ryder Cup and thinking what a stunning venue it was and I know all our Members will look forward to testing their games against this world-class layout.”

Denmark’s Søren Kjeldsen is the reigning champion of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation after prevailing in a three-man play-off with Austrian Bernd Wiesberger and Englishman Eddie Pepperell at Royal County Down Golf Club to claim his fourth European Tour title.

The Irish Open has a rich history, having been an ever-present on The European Tour since 1975. Its list of champions reads like a Who-Who of golf itself and features players such as Major Champions: Seve Ballesteros, Michael Campbell, Ben Crenshaw, Sir Nick Faldo, Hubert Green, Padraig

Harrington, Bernhard Langer, José Maria Olazábal and Ian Woosnam, alongside eight-time European Number One Colin Montgomerie.

Fans looking to secure their place already at The K Club next May have the opportunity to book their tickets now by going to http://tickets.europeantour.com or www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com

Fans can also follow the latest tournament updates via the associated Twitter accounts: @EuropeanTour @DDFIrishOpen @TheKClub @RoryFoundation @DubaiDutyFree1

King Kinsey of the Links

(Ras al-Khaimah, UAE) – Martin Kinsey has broken through for his maiden win after surviving a three way count back on 21 points in the weekly stabelford competition. Martin has been putting in some sneaky practice before work over the summer months and it finally seems to be paying off, so look for him to feature more regularly in the prizes as the weather cools.

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Ahmed Mustapha & Robbie Cunningham seem to be regulars on the podium and this week was no different as both chaps fell shy in the count back. For Ahmad, he placed second with his final 3 hole tally being 1 point ahead of Robbie who placed third on the back of his win the previous week.

Claiming the pin prizes on the evening were Ashutosh Shukla following on from claiming the pin the week before, with Sam Dawson taking the spoils on the 16th. Spooning on the night was the left handed Canadian Expat Mike Sherman, whose entire game deserted him rendering him a mere spectator and ball spotter on the night for his playing partners.