Els Club to host Citizen Classic

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Els Club to  host Citizen Classic
Mohamed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the MENA Golf Tour, with Chris Brown, general manager at the Els Club Dubai.

Dubai - The event will see an absorbing battle with players jostling for positions on the Order of Merit, narrowly led by Paul Doherty of Scotland.

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Published: Mon 12 Oct 2015, 5:26 PM

With three of the last four Mena Golf Tour events going to playoffs, there is plenty to suggest that the excitement of this season's competition will hit a new peak when the Els Club hosts the Golf Citizen Classic, which starts today.
In a first for the Ernie Els premier signature design course in the Middle East, the event will see an absorbing battle with players jostling for positions on the Order of Merit, narrowly led by Paul Doherty of Scotland.
Snapping at the heels of the front-runner are the English duo of Gary King and Jake Shepherd and Sweden's Per Barth as just $1,930 (around Dh7,000) separate the top four, who all have won a tournament this year going into this the seventh round of the 11-stage Mena Golf Tour.
"There is a feeling of tremendous excitement at the Els Club as we welcome our first Mena Golf Tour event," said Chris Brown, general manager at the Els Club.
"We are extremely proud of our championship course, which is managed by Troon Golf.  "Shot makers will have a good time. There could be some greens which are a little tricky, but - for the most part - it'll be a great challenge.
"It's quite encouraging to see the tour grow in stature and popularity every year. It has provided emerging players, especially from the region, a springboard to take their game to the next level."
Boasting three top-10s, including a solo third at last week's American Express Dirab Golf Championship, South Africa's rising star Thriston Arthur Lawrence will be aiming to go one better - if not the full distance - and break into the top three from his current fifth position.
Craig Hinton, who settled for second to Spain's Gabriel Canizares in Dirab, will be keen to put a temporary blip in an otherwise strong performance behind him when the gun goes off along with fellow Englishman Luke Joy, who finished fourth. 
The victory of Morocco's Ayoub Lguirati in the amateur division last week has added a new dimension to the competition hitherto dominated by England's James Allan and India's Rayhan Thomas.
Currently placed fifth on the Order of Merit, the young Moroccan will be targeting another finish to break into the top three along with his compatriot Karim El Hali, who has maintained his position in fourth.
Playing in his first season as a professional, Morocco's Mehdi Sassi is giving regular contenders a terrific run for their money in the Mena Division.  The 24-year-old racked up a creditable tied sixth overall - and the first in his division - last week to close the gap on leaders Faycal Serghini, Ahmed Marjan and Amine Joudar.
"Our bond with the Els Club has grown stronger, especially after the Dubai Open," commented Mohamed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the Mena Golf Tour. 
"Everything, ranging from the course to logistics, was spot-on as the feedback from the players suggested. I extend my gratitude to the management and staff of the Els Club for their support to the tour and we look forward to working with them as we try and create a competitive environment for the region's players to grow."



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