Former UAE golf sensation Rayhan Thomas hopes to turn pro next year

The 24-year-old is in the final year of his five-year term golf scholarship at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in the US

By Nick Tarratt, Khaleej Times Guest Golf Writer

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Rayhan Thomas (right) at Abu Dhabi Golf Club for the LIV Golf Promotions with Indian golf star Gaganjeet Bhullar. - Photo by Nick Tarratt
Rayhan Thomas (right) at Abu Dhabi Golf Club for the LIV Golf Promotions with Indian golf star Gaganjeet Bhullar. - Photo by Nick Tarratt

Published: Sat 9 Dec 2023, 3:21 PM

Former Dubai resident and Indian golf talent Rayhan Thomas, a star of the UAE amateur golf scene as a youngster, is hoping to turn pro by the middle of next year to build on his promising career.

Not so long ago as a student in Dubai, Thomas won the Emirates Golf Federation Men’s Order of Merit, and on the MENA Tour.

He is now in the final year of his five-year term golf scholarship at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in the US.

Standing on the Driving Range at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on the sidelines of the LIV Golf Promotions, the 24-year-old, Thomas told Khaleej Times: “I am caddying this week for a past OSU player, a good buddy of mine, 27 year-old professional, Zach Bauchou.”

Zach played with teammates, Victor Hovland and Matt Wolff for OSU when they won the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships in 2018 for the 11th time.

Commenting on his plans, he said: “I plan to turn professional at the end of May after the National Championship and my first professional event will probably be the Wichita Open on the Korn Ferry Tour.

“I then plan to stay on in the States for some other professional golf tournaments.

“It is going great in OSU. I won my last college event, the 2023 Grier Jones Shocker Invitational in Kansas with rounds of 68, 67 and 65 to finish 16 under par, and also have a top 10 and a top 20 this season and I am ranked around 70th in the University Golf Rankings,” he said,

“The Kansas win gets me a Korn Ferry Tour invitation and it gets me in the Wichita Open in June 2024.”

Thomas talked about the thriving college golf scene in the US.

‘‘The outstanding college player at the moment is 22-year-old American Michael Thorbjornsen, who will be playing in the 2024 HERO Dubai Desert Classic next month,” he said. “Michael won the Amateur prize there last year at Emirates Golf Club and we wish him well.”

Thomas had his hand strapped up as we spoke he explained.

“‘I had a stress fracture in my hand at the start of the summer and I took three months off,” he said. “When I got back it still had not healed properly but I had to play through the season to earn essential points.

“I then decided to have further surgery which I had the week after I won the event and which has worked out well.”

Commenting on the status of his World Amateur Rankings having previously been as high as 12th on the global list, Thomas said: “I do not look that much at the WAGR – I just play my own game, try and get better and see how good I can get?”


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