‘I feel incredible’, says Neergaard-Petersen as he rallies for victory in UAE Challenge

Big-hitting Nienaber falters at the finish to settle for secondwhile former Abu Dhabi resident David Horsey takes the third spot at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club

By Nick Tarratt, Khaleej Times Guest Golf Writer

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Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen poses with the trophy alongside Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council. - Supplied photo
Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen poses with the trophy alongside Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council. - Supplied photo

Published: Sun 28 Apr 2024, 8:54 PM

Last updated: Tue 30 Apr 2024, 5:06 PM

Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen shot a final round 67 for a 72-hole total of 14 under par 274 to win the $300,000 UAE Challenge in a tight finish at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in Abu Dhabi on the Challenge Tour.

The win helped the 24-year-old Dane to consolidate his position at the top of the season-long Road to Mallorca Challenge Tour Order of Merit Rankings.

Rasmus started the final round three behind the leader, Wilco Nienaber and two matches back of the final group. and posted a seven-birdie round to match the winning total score from 2023 at the same venue.

This is his second Challenge Tour victory, having won the Kolkata Challenge last month in India. He also finished tied seventh last week at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club with rounds of 66, 66, 64 and 65 for a 19 under-par total.

Rasmus was co-leader after round one this week with a 65 and kept up his form with rounds of 72, 70 and 67 to take the first prize cheque of €44,752.94.

He has had 22 birdies, eight bogeys and the rest pars this week – with no doubles or worse over the challenging Saadiyat layout that always seems to attract a breeze.

“I feel incredible. I knew I had a chance going into today, but being able to put together a great round and get it done in the end feels amazing,” said the Danish player.

“I got off to a really good start in the first round, played pretty good in the second round, but I’m most proud of my third round. It was probably the best round of two-under-par I’ve ever played.

“This is all still new to me. Right now I just want to enjoy this win,” he added.

“I feel like I’ve made great strides over the winter break. I’ve gone to more of a fade shape with the driver, and that’s really paid dividends.”

Talking about how he plans to celebrate his latest win Rasmus said: “We’re definitely going to go out somewhere nice and have a nice dinner, that’s for sure.”

In the runner-up spot was the big-hitting Wilco Nienaber (RSA), who looked like taking the title, but dropped three shots in his last four holes, for a 71. The 24-year-old has so much talent it seems inevitable he will make his breakthrough soon and deliver on a higher stage.

In third place was former Abu Dhabi resident David Horsey (Eng) who shot a final round 70 to finish two back of the champion. Horsey is the winner of the 2008 Challenge Tour Rankings.

Asian Tour’s current number one John Catlin (US) shot a 74, for a tournament total of five under par 283, to finish in tied 36th while Garrick Porteous (Eng), who represents Trump International Golf Club, Dubai, shot a final round 71 to finish in tied 49th.

UAE amateur Oscar Craig (Jumeirah Golf Estates), signed off his Challenge Tour debut with a more than respectable 76 with earlier rounds of 69, 73 and 72, for an outstanding score of two over par 290.

The 17-year-old talent, who is the stepson of World No. 11 Tommy Fleetwood, received his invite by recently winning the Al Hamra Men’s Amateur Open – a qualifier for the Emirates Golf Federation’s (EGF) Men’s Amateur Order of Merit.

“I’ll do everything I can to try and play in as many of these as I can,” Craig said on completing his final round. “It’s been such a cool experience, everything about it has been brilliant. I’ve loved it and hopefully, I can be here again.”

The tournament was sanctioned by the EGF, partnered by Abu Dhabi Sports Council and sponsored by ARENA, Phoenix Capital and Al Laith.

The next event on the Challenge Tour is the Challenge de Espana to be held in Seville, Spain, from 9th – 12th May 2024.

For further information Visit: www.europeantour.com

Final Results

(7,681 Yards, Par 72).

R. Neergaard-Petersen (Den) 65. 72. 70. 67. 274.

W. Nienaber (RSA) 65. 70. 69. 71. 275.

D. Horsey (Eng) 70. 68. 68. 70. 276.


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