Dubai Desert Classic: Mixed day for UAE golfers Hill, Skaik

Josh Hill plays his tee shot during the first round of the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic. (Photo courtesy Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic)
Josh Hill plays his tee shot during the first round of the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic. (Photo courtesy Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic)

UAE amateur Ahmad Skaik endured a tough opening day with the 24-year-old shooting a three-over 75 to be tied 101st



By James Jose

Published: Thu 27 Jan 2022, 7:48 PM

It was a mixed day for local golfers at the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club on Thursday.

Dubai-born amateur Josh Hill, who had a decent outing at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship last week, carded a two-under 70 at the Majlis Course to end the first round tied for 27th on Thursday.

Meanwhile, UAE amateur Ahmad Skaik endured a tough opening day with the 24-year-old shooting a three-over 75 to be tied 101st.

The 17-year-old Hill, who had shot one-under and a brilliant three-under in the first and third rounds respectively before eventually finishing tied for 58th at the Yas Links in Abu Dhabi, had five birdies and two bogeys.

The 6ft 3in tall Hill, the third UAE-born player to make the cut in a DP World Tour event after India’s Rahyan Thomas and Matthew Turner, when he did so in Abu Dhabi, was three-under through nine holes after firing four birdies and a bogey, and was tied 12th at that stage. He then went on to sink a birdie on the par-5 third to go four-under and be tied for seventh. A fine finish to the day was there for the taking but twin bogeys on his back nine, on the par-4s — sixth and the ninth — kind of undid all the hard yards put in by Hill.

But Hill sits in elite company as reigning champion England’s Paul Casey, and freshly minted Abu Dhabi winner, Belgium’s Thomas Pieters, too are tied for 27th.

Hill had become the youngest winner in professional golf, at age 15, six months and 27 days, when he won the Al Ain Open on the Mena Tour in 2019. He eclipsed Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa triumph on the Japan Golf Tour’s Munsingwear Open KSB Cup at the age of 15 years and eight months, and the feat saw him write his name in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Hill’s rise has seen him become a part of England Golf’s High Performance Squad.

Meanwhile, Skaik, who had made the cut at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship before narrowly missing the cut at the Aviv Dubai Championship, last November, had a bad start, bogeying the opening three holes. He did manage to sink in a birdie on the par-3 fourth but was to suffer another blip as he bogeyed the par-4 eighth.

Taking the turn at three-over, Skaik went on to bogey the par-5 13th. He completed his return journey with a birdie on the par-3 15th to end the day on three-over.


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