Ahmed Al Musharrekh is determined to up his game after finishing off the pace in the Asian Amateur Championship at Singapore.
Ahmed Al Musharrekh held back by 'silly mistakes' in Singapore
Ahmed Al Musharrekh, one of the country's top amateur golfers, is determined to up his game after finishing well off the pace in the Asian Amateur Championship.
The UAE team member finished Sunday's final round with a one-under par 71, which gave him an overall score of level par.
However, Japan's Hideki Matsuyama retained his title at the Singapore Island Country Club with a final score of 18-under par.
Al Musharrekh acknowledges that 18 shots is a huge gap in golf, and it is one he intends to close as quickly possible.
"I have had a great four days and feel that I played really well for most of the tournament," he said.
"But you just have to look at the winning score and that shows me that I have still got a long way to go before I move up to the level I want to be at.
"It's not that I played badly, it's just the guys at the top are noticeably better than me. So I want to work hard on my game and get closer to them.
"I am still thinking of turning pro, but my plan is to get back to the Asian Amateur Championship next year and do much better."
Over four days which saw heavy rain and thunderstorms lash the course, Dubai's Al Musharrekh shot rounds of 75, 70, 72 and 71, to finish tied for 24th out of 120 of the best amateur players in Asia.
It was the best performance by an Emirati on the international circuit and Saeed Albudoor, the general manager of the Emirates Golf Federation, said: "Ahmed has done the UAE proud. His performance in this prestigious championship ... shows he has the game and the mental toughness to compete at any level."
Al Musharrekh, 20, said he should have carded a much lower score were it not for some carelessness on his part.
"I made some silly mistakes and that stopped me from getting to seven or eight under," he said.
"I played well enough to score that. I hardly missed a fairway and hit the ball really well.
"It was a bit of everything really. I passed up too many birdie opportunities and three-putted a few times. However, I was really pleased with my tournament and I have been playing well this year, which is great.
"My plan now is to work on all aspects of my game back in the UAE because I do feel as if I'm getting there."
Chris Vallender, the UAE coach, was in Singapore with Al Musharrekh and Khalid Yousuf, who missed the cut.
The South African, a former professional himself, was thrilled to see his No 1 player make such big improvements.
"Ahmed had to deal with some really difficult conditions and I thought he performed really well," he said. "He has worked really hard over the summer and his consistency has been excellent."
Al Musharrekh, a business student at the American College in Dubai, will enter the Dubai leg of the Mena Tour, which takes place next week, and hopes a top-10 finish will get him to the final tournament, the Tour Championship in Al Ain.
"I hear the tour went really well in the first week in Abu Dhabi, so I'm looking forward to playing at the Al Badia Club, which is a superb course," he said.
Matsuyama, who is 19, finished one shot ahead of Lee Soo-min of South Korea on Sunday with a five-under-par final round of 67.
The teenager will play in next year's Masters Tournament in April, with the chance to retain the Silver Cup for amateur players that he won at Augusta National this year, where he finished tied with Phil Mickelson at 27th.
Both Matsuyama and So-min received invitations to the final round of international qualifying for next year's British Open.
* With agency