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 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.