GOING OUT: UAE’s best amateurs all set to become part of golf’s history

For many the much-anticipated Men’s Open 2011 being held at Yas Links this weekend represents a dream come true as it affords the opporunity to become a part of local history.

And that’s the reason the first two-day event at the spectacular Kyle Phillips designed course, named among the top 10 new international golf courses in the world, has a full field of 108 players and a lengthy waiting list.

Sponsored by Sport360°, who will also be providing the Player of the Tournament trophy, the 36-hole gross strokeplay event has “one of the strongest amateur lines-ups in the region with half the entrants between a +4 and 4 handicap,” said Jamie Goodenough, Sales and Marketing Manager at Yas Links.

Day one will see competitors tee-off according to their handicap with the tee positions the same as those used for the recent invitational, while day two’s play will start in accordance to the scores from the previous day with championship tees in use.

Set against the backdrop of dramatic views of the Arabian Gulf, Yas Links Abu Dhabi combines stunning scenery with the thrill of links golf’s ultimate test: uneven fairways, pot bunkers and unpredictable wind conditions.

And here’s what some of the stars of world golf had to say about the course with its rolling hills and nine seaside greens:

World No.1 Lee Westwood: “The course is very good. It’s very similar to the other ones Kyle Phillips has designed, it’s got a feel like Kingsbarns to it.”

Italian teen sensation Matteo Manassero: “Kyle Phillips knows how to design this type of golf course very well. This is the third time I’ve played this particular course and I think it’s a great layout.

“It can be very tough when it’s really windy so he’s done the right job. It’s not easy to create a links course when the land is not really links so well done to him.”

Sweden’s Johan Edfors: “Kyle has done a great job with the course. You sort of feel like you’re at Kingsbarns every now and again. It’s a really good golf course.”

Thomas Levet: “The golf course is really nice. It’s actually a lot more difficult off the tee than Kingsbarns especially the first time you play it when you don’t know the course – you can be surprised by some bunkers in the middle of the fairway and some carries that you’re not sure about.

“But the greens are very comparable and the whole course is in great shape so it’s good fun and a nice layout.”

Henrik Stenson: “I like links courses. It’s a beautiful spot. The course has a very nice feel to it and I think it’ll be quite a tricky course for the amateurs.”

Jeev Milkha Singh: “I loved it. I think it’s a fantastic golf course, it’s a great links course, especially in the Middle East.”

Pablo Larrazabal: “This is a great golf course. To build this kind of golf course on this land is quite impressive.”

To complement the course, Yas Links features a floodlit driving range, a nine-hole par three academy course, and an exceptional 4,000-square-metre clubhouse.

If you like golf, go watch the best amateurs in the region in the swing of things over the weekend.

February 2011

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