x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Less than six months into golf, Al Budoor claims first trophy

The 15-year-old carded a 37 on the par-27 nine-hole course at Dubai Creek, the same as Obaid Mubarak, but won Division A (Under 16) on a countback.

Seven-time UAE national champion Ismail Sharif, right, watches Oma Abul Kareem tee off during the event at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club in Deira yesterday. Jeff Topping / The National
Seven-time UAE national champion Ismail Sharif, right, watches Oma Abul Kareem tee off during the event at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club in Deira yesterday. Jeff Topping / The National

DUBAI // Less than six months after picking up a golf club, Ahmed al Budoor won his first trophy last night in the second round of the UAE Nationals Par-3 League at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club.

Al Budoor carded a 37 on the par-27 nine-hole course, the same as Obaid Mubarak, but won Division A (Under 16) on a countback.

Abdullah bin Thani, who won the opening round of the newly instituted league for national juniors, reclaimed the closest-to-the-pin award, on the same ninth as last week.

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This round had attracted 16 participants — including three females — despite many of them having their annual exams at school.

Two of the girls played in the U12 category staged over five holes where eight-year-old Reema Heloo took the honours with a card of 26, ahead of her younger brother Obaid.

"I am really happy," said al Budoor. "Winning is always important as it gives you a boost going forward."

Al Budoor had arrived at the course earlier than most and was working hard on the putting range. He did not miss many and carried the confidence into the competition.

"Now, I will try even harder," the 15-year-old said. "I want to become better and better."

The league is part of an ambitious National Junior Programme, which was launched by the Emirates Golf Federation earlier this month to introduce young Emiratis to the game.

Ismail Sharif, a seven-time UAE national champion, is spearheading the programme and he was present at the course, guiding the youngsters through their round.

"Most of these kids have just started," he said. "But you can see they are enthusiastic and very keen.

"But they need time and lots of practice. To improve, they will have to play every day; once a week will not be good enough. So we need to find a way of giving them enough time on a golf course."

Saeed Albudoor, the general manager of the Emirates Golf Federation, was also on the course, encouraging the youngsters, along with a number of parents who had come to support their children.

"This is the second Par-3 League for nationals," Albudoor said. "We have planned two for every month for this season [five in total]. By May, we should finish because the schools close and the kids go for their holidays.

"We made a promise to start at the grass roots. The national junior team is hungry for new faces.

"We don't have a lot of people in our juniors, so these ones in the next two to three years, we should have a very strong junior team, especially the ladies.

"We need to encourage the national ladies to come. So yes, it's a grass-roots event and we are very excited.

"It's just the beginning. Hopefully next year it will be bigger with 30 to 40 kids coming in.

"We started with the par-3, once these kids get familiar with the par-3, then we can start with the big course, for six holes or nine holes.

"We will go gradually. We just want to get these kids a handicap or a player's certificate, so that they can go and play in the big clubs."

arizvi@thenational.ae