x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

High hopes of an Emirati winner at matchplay event

Miki Mirza will this weekend be seeking to maintain his dominance of the amateur golfing scene by capturing the UAE scratch matchplay title.

Khalid Yousuf is seeded sixth.
Khalid Yousuf is seeded sixth.

DUBAI // Miki Mirza will this weekend be seeking to maintain his dominance of the amateur golfing scene by capturing the UAE scratch matchplay title to add to the national order of merit honours he secured last month. Mirza, 28, who plays off a handicap of plus one, is unbeaten in the country's principal amateur knockout event since 2007 when he won the Emirates Golf Federation title for the first time at Abu Dhabi.

He repeated that success the following year at Al Badia but was prevented from challenging for the hat-trick by the cancellation of last year's tournament through insufficient entries. As the top seed in the 10-man event which will be contested over two days at Al Badia, he is confident of more glory. "It would put the cherry on the top of what has been a very good season," he said. Mirza, who represents Dubai Creek, will tackle Dino Varkey, the 10th seed, in the second round after getting a bye in the first round, the winner going through to tomorrow morning's semi- finals with the final to follow tomorrow afternoon.

Hopes are high of an Emirati triumph with the Musharrekh brothers, Abdulla and Ahmed, seeded three and four respectively, and Khalid Yousuf ranked sixth. Abdulla Musharrekh and Yousuf are drawn to meet in this afternoon's quarter-finals while Ahmed al Musharrekh awaits the winner of this morning's first round clash between Tom Green and Paul King. The other first round encounter is between Vikram Judge, the second seed, and Joele Neale, the long-hitting youngster who won the order of merit in 2008 and 2009.

Also to be decided over the weekend are the boys and women's sections which are headed by Daniel Hendry (Emirates) and Nasha Sarkari (Dubai Creek). Hendry is up against James Sayer, the eighth seed, in the first round while Philip Urasch (seeded three) and Aditya Judge (seven) will battle it out for a place in the semi- finals after receiving the first round byes. Sarkari, the top women's seed opens her campaign against Kavita Sehmi, the 16th seed. Sarkari, like Mirka, is seeking a prestigious double having won this year's ladies' order of merit.

In the lower half of the draw, Sana Tufail, the second seed, will meet the winner of the Judy Kong-Agnes Anwar clash in the second round after receiving a bye in the first round. wjohnson@thenational.ae