Bagnall battles through fading light to clinch Emirates Amateur Open title

Fans use phone torches and lighters to illuminate the final green as the South African finishes in style with a birdie

By Nick Tarratt, Khaleej Times – Guest Golf Writer

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2024 Emirates Amateur Open Champion Chris Bagnall (centre) with EGC club officials. - Photo Nick Tarratt
2024 Emirates Amateur Open Champion Chris Bagnall (centre) with EGC club officials. - Photo Nick Tarratt

Published: Sat 6 Jan 2024, 9:35 PM

South Africa’s Chris Bagnall scored a remarkable victory in fading light to win the 2024 Emirates Amateur Open held at Emirates Golf Club’s Majlis Course.

Bagnall, who turned 20 on Friday, managed to hole a 15 footer for a birdie despite poor visibility on the home green as fans switched on their mobile phone torches and lighters to help illuminate the course.

Earlier, he had to endure an up-and-down round before taking the title by one shot from Czech prodigy Louis Klein.

Bagnall shot a second-round 73 for a 36-hole total of 143, one under par.

The first round co-leade, who opened up with a round of 70, and playing in the final group of the day, was out in a one bogey – eight par, 36. He then stumbled with a double bogey seven on the par five 10th but bounced back with a birdie two on hole 11.

Bagnall, then birdied hole 13, bogeyed his next and then had three pars before playing his final hole in faltering light.

The South African talent told Khaleej Times: “The golf course was awesome. I have not played either the Faldo or Majlis Courses before, so it was great to come away with a W.

“I had one bad swing all day, a duck hook on the 10th tee, but overall, I was pleased with my golf,” Bagnall added. “I must especially thank my coach Jamie McConnell from the CH3 Performance Academy at The Els Club, for encouraging me to come over to Dubai for lessons during my winter break and also to play in the Emirates Amateur Open.

“I still have a couple of lessons with Jamie still booked in, then I fly home to South Africa and then almost immediately fly back to the US to the University of Notre Dame to continue my golf scholarship,” he said.

Fourteen-year-old Louis Klein had rounds of 74 and 70, to finish one back of the champion. The young talent finished strongly with a birdie–par–birdie.

Klein regularly winter trains in Dubai and will stay here to practice for one month before representing the Czech Republic in national team events and playing in international tournaments in Portugal, the USA, Spain and Italy.

Others of note on the scoreboard included current 2023 – 24 Men’s EGF Order of Merit leader Jonathan Selvaraj (Trump Int) who had a second-round 70 to finish tied for 10th.

UAE National Champion Ahmad Skaik (EGF) had rounds of 73 and 74 to finish tied fifth – his first Men’s Open in the UAE for over two years following an injury-prone couple of seasons.

Co-leader after round one Dan Byrne (The Els Club) fell away today and had to settle for the Best Gross Award for day one.

Defending champion Sam Mullane (JGE) finished tied for 30th.

This is the seventh qualifier for the 2023 – 24 Emirates Golf Federation (EGF) Men’s Order of Merit.


(Round 1, Faldo Course, Round 2 Majlis Course, 7,308 Yards, Par 72).

C. Bagnall (South Africa) 70. 73. 143.

L. Klein (Czech) 74. 70. 144.

T. Neale (JGE) 73. 73. 146.

H. Yadav (Trump International) 71. 75. 146.

36-Hole Net

M. Mirza (Dubai Creek) 76. 69. 145.

A. Skaik (EGF) 72. 73. 145.

A. Naim (TEC) 75. 72. 147.

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