x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Yousuf aiming to book ticket to Fiji

Khalid Yousuf leads the pack after day one as amateur golfers across the UAE have descended on Yas Links to vie for one of four spots on the team that will represent the country at the Nomura Cup in Fiji.

ABU DHABI // It was a long and hot 18 holes for the players of the Emirati Golf Federation, who all had a difficult time yesterday on the demanding Yas Links course.

The star of the six amateurs trying to qualify for the four-man Nomura Cup team, which will be held in August in Fiji, was Khalid Yousuf of the Emirates Golf Club, who is nine shots better off than his nearest challenger.

As the 21 year old has long been viewed as his country's best player, it was no real surprise that he kept his cool to record a one-over par round of 73.

It was a day when par was any golfer's friend and too many of the other players handed in cards with bogeys galore.

However, there was still some good golf to be found on the links course, with Yousuf leading the way after a round he could be more than pleased with.

Chris Vallender, the national coach of the Emirates Golf Federation (EGF), can probably pencil in his name as a member of the team already.

Abdulla al Musharrekh was next on the scoreboard with a round of 82, which he was not too thrilled about.

"I didn't play great today," he was honest enough to admit.

But it was younger brother, Ahmed, who was four shots worse with an 86 and he wore the look of a man who left too many shots on the course.

Saif Thabet also carded an 86 with Nabil Ismail a shot behind and Faris Al Mazrui has some work to do after a round of 90.

Vallender had to deal with some last-minute withdrawals from the qualifier but more players will be given the chance to stake their claim for a place on the Nomura Cup team, which will take on the best Asian amateur players.

The four best scores, over four rounds on Yas Links will decide which players are going to be on the plane to Fiji.