Saadiyat Beach Club, the stunning new course designed by Gary Player, has been selected as the host venue for the UAE PGA championship - the flagship event on the calendar for locally-based professionals. More than 20 club professionals will fight it out over the 36 holes next Tuesday and Wednesday for the prestigious end-of-season honour which is the final fixture on the annual order of merit programme.
Simon Payne, the Australian who is the resident professional at Tower Links in Ras al Khaimah, has already accumulated enough points to ensure he will top the merit table for the third time but there are still several key issues to be resolved over the two Saadiyat days. The top three finishers in the order of merit will earn places in the UAE team to take part in the PGA of Europe team championship at Murcia, Spain, at the end of November while the leading 16 will qualify for September's Dubai Golf Trophy - the annual "Ryder Cup" type battle against the country's best amateurs.
Malcolm Young, of Arabian Ranches, and Callum Nicoll (Els Club) are best placed to join Payne on the trip to Spain but fourth-placed Steven Munro (Jumeirah Golf Estates) could overtake both of them if results go his way next week. Meanwhile, Team Korea pulled off an exciting victory over Team UAE in the Korea-UAE Friendship Cup tournament held at the Saadiyat to celebrate the growing ties between the two countries.
Winning friends and social networking may have been the theme of the competition, jointly hosted by the South Korean Embassy and the Korean Business Association of UAE, but there was no lack of intensity in the matches. Team Korea finished with a net score of 88.8, beating the UAE team (net 89.3) by the narrowest of the margins. Each side comprised 24 players which included some well-known names from the corporate world. The UAE team was picked and matched together by the Emirates Golf Federation. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org