The Shaikh Rashid Trophy winner, who beats Daniel Hendry by four strokes, is the son of the architect of Jebel Ali golf course.
Michael Harradine is at ease on his father's turf
JEBEL ALI // Michael Harradine capitalised on his intimate knowledge of Jebel Ali golf course to win the re-established Shaikh Rashid Trophy yesterday by an emphatic margin of four strokes from Daniel Hendry, the promising Scottish teenager.
The 27-year-old Harradine represents the next generation of a famous golfing family, his grandfather, Donald, having launched their course design company and his father, Peter, becoming one of the most respected architects in the sport.
"I suppose I had a big advantage playing on home turf," the player said after his composed performance to record a one-over-par score of 73 on one of his father's courses. "There is no excuse for not knowing about all the contours here."
Harradine, who has been working for the family business for the last year, was surprised that his eight-over-par aggregate for the three-day competition, which started at Dubai's Al Badia Club on Thursday and continued at The Els Club on Friday, proved good enough to take the honours in what is effectively the amateur championship of the UAE.
"I think it was a case of me not playing as badly as the others," he said, failing to take into the account of the difficult playing conditions which proved too much for most of his rivals.
One of them, Ivan Lawson, collapsed with heat exhaustion and needed medical treatment before going home.
The competition rules on the final day of walking the course was also a factor and most of the 30 men who survived the second-round cut returned to the clubhouse resembling physical wrecks after rounds which took close to five hours to complete.
That was particularly true of Ricky Dominguez, the joint overnight leader of Emirates Golf Federation, who imploded in the final stages to card a 84, having left the run in to become a two-horse race between Harradine and Hendry.
It was anybody's guess who would come out on top approaching the turn after Hendry holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the eighth to draw level with Harradine who bogeyed that short hole.
If Hendry had the momentum then, he swiftly surrendered it by suffering a disastrous double-bogey seven on the long ninth. "That was the turning point," the teenager admitted. "I had just got myself back to level and then that happens, but that's golf."
Harradine's lead soon became three but when Hendry rolled in another neat birdie at the 12th an exciting finish beckoned.
However, the destiny of the trophy, which was being competed again for after a gap of four years, was sealed on the 14th green when Harradine, who had gone three ahead on the 13th, made a 10-footer for birdie and watched as Hendry lipped out with a subsequent par putt.
Hendry knew then that his champion's chance had gone but he held his game together commendably on the way home to cling on the second place by a single stroke from Othman al Mulla, the Saudi Arabian visitor.
Abdulla al Musharrekh - the eldest of a three talented Emirati brothers and a representative of the UAE team in the forthcoming Eisenhower Trophy - claimed fourth place in the 54-hole tournament a further four shots adrift.