x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Key holes will unlock RAK Classic, second stop on golf's Mena Tour

Simon Payne, the head professional at the Tower Links Golf Club, says that the Ras Al Khaimah Classic being played Monday-Wednesday will turn on how players handle three holes.

The head professional at the Tower Links Golf Club in Ras Al Khaimah is warning the field for the second Mena Tour event that three holes will potentially "make or break" their scorecard over the next four days.

Sixty-nine players, including eight amateurs, will tee off against the backdrop of the Hajar Mountains on Monday hoping to emulate Zane Scotland, who won the first of the four Mena competitions at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club last week.

In the race for the US$50,000 (Dh183,655) event in RAK, the players have been warned by Simon Payne, who holds the record at the 7,016-yard course, about the pitfalls of two par fives and a par four.

"Anyone walking off with a par on the fifth, 13th and 17th would have done a great job," Payne said.

"Any better scores on these holes will be a bonus. These three mangrove-lined holes will make or break a round. The par-five 18th is reachable and we can expect lot of eagles there. It's a great finishing hole and could well decide the winner on the final day."

Payne will be one of 20 UAE-based players in the field and will be buoyed by his course record - a five-under par 67.

Yasin Ali, who finished the runner-up to Scotland in the Abu Golf Citizen Open last week, will be the first on the tee at 8.30am along with UAE's Christopher Davies and Mustapha El Maouas. He is one of the entries from Morocco, with Kenya boasting six, Pakistan five and Nigeria three.