The UAE team were far from disgraced in the world amateur team championship - the Eisenhower Trophy - which concluded in Australia yesterday and travelled home proud to finish as the best of the four Arab nations who took part in the biennial tournament.
UAE find solace in improvement
The UAE team were far from disgraced in the world amateur team championship - the Eisenhower Trophy - which concluded in Australia yesterday and travelled home proud to finish as the best of the four Arab nations who took part in the biennial tournament. Inspired by the country's best player, Khalid Yousuf, the Emirati trio managed to claim 50th place out of 75, comfortably ahead of their regional rivals Saudi Arabia (55th), Egypt (56th) and Qatar (63rd) in the four-day tournament which was won for the first time by Scotland who led home the United States and Sweden, winning by nine shots.
Yousuf's aggregate of 13 over par for the four rounds on two different courses - the Royal Adelaide and the Grange - was the best performance ever by a UAE player in an international tournament. All of his scores counted towards the UAE aggregate of 624 strokes, 44 over par in a competition which is decided by the two best scores out of three on each day. Faris Al Muzrui backed up Yousuf in three of the four rounds with the third member of the team, Abdulla Al Musharrekh, making a fine contribution in the third round with a two-over-par 75.
Chris Vallender, the South African coach of the UAE team, had sent out his three players with a target of improving on their finishing place of 65th two years ago, so he had every reason to be satisfied with the results. "We could have done even better, but that's golf," he said. "Sometimes the scores don't exactly do justice to your ability. "Khalid was simply superb, but Faris and Abdullah excelled only in patches. In this kind of format, you need at least two players to fire on a consistent basis and that somehow didn't happen.
"Overall, I am pleased with the performance of the team. They practised hard in the run-up to the event and they were determined to do well - they have done that." The manager of the UAE team, Khalid Mubarak, added: "The experience of rubbing shoulders with some of the finest amateurs in the world would stand them in good stead for the future. I am really proud the way the boys have conducted themselves on and off the course."