ABU DHABI // Competition play formally arrives at the capital's only fully fledged links course today, when Yas Links hosts its first Men's Open competition. Despite only half of the Yas Links' 18 holes being playable, the tournament organisers have purposely fast-tracked the Men's Open to ensure an Order of Merit spot in the 2010-11 season. "One of the criteria to enter the Order of Merit is that a golf course must have run a tournament the previous year," explained Nick Oakley, the director of golf, Yas Links. "We're running the Men's Open to qualify for next season."
With Yas Links' back nine not scheduled to be ready until June, a field of 60 regional handicappers will twice battle the course's front nine in a traditional morning and afternoon tee-time format. "We want to get people out on the course and we've been working hard to maximise the field before the season tails off for the summer," said Oakley. "The course is a traditional links, there are no man-made lakes or planted trees.
"Considering it's only been open for four weeks, it is in fantastic condition and will be a strong test for the guys," Oakley added. email@example.com