Saleh, Ali fired up for Qatar Masters

 22 Jan 2016 - 2:16

Saleh, Ali fired up for Qatar Masters


 


 

Saleh Al Kaabi and Ali Al Shahrani fired up for their Commercial Bank Qatar Masters campaign.


Doha:  Amateurs Saleh Al Kaabi and Ali Al Shahrani, both 21, will each represent Qatar for the fourth time at the upcoming $2.5m Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, which will be held at Doha Golf Club from January 27 to 30.
The friends, who are both coached by Team Qatar coach Mike Elliott, qualified as the top two locals at this month’s 54-hole Qatar Open at Doha Golf Club, where the champion, 16-year-old Dubai-based Rayhan Thomas, also booked his spot in next week’s European Tour event.
The trio face a formidable field, with Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen and defending champion Branden Grace the top-ranked players in the 19th edition of the tournament, which again sits at the heart of The European Tour’s ‘desert swing’.
The big-hitting Al Kaabi secured his place for a fourth successive year by finishing as the top local at the Qatar Open, tying for seventh after rounds of 77, 74 and 74.
“I’m really happy to have qualified again for the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, which is always a great event,” said Al Kaabi, whose second-round 70 in 2014 is his lowest round at the tournament.
“I’m looking forward to playing with some great players again. I’ve trained really hard, so I hope I can play at the level I’m used to and hopefully I can make the cut.”
Both Al Kaabi and Al Shahrani are again aiming to become the first Qataris to play all four days at the tournament. The top 65 players plus ties after Thursday’s second round will make the cut and play all 72 holes.
The pair play regularly at Doha Golf Club as part of their training, but the Championship Course proves a much tougher test during the week of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters as the layout is made more challenging for the European Tour pros.
Al Shahrani has played in the tournament for the past two years, having made his debut in 2012 as a 17-year-old.
“I’m looking forward to the experience of the crowds and also being able to play alongside the world’s best players again,” said Al Shahrani, who finished 11th at the Qatar Open.
“Both Saleh and I really proud to be representing Qatar and the Qatar Golf Association. We hope that young Qatari children will see us playing and that this can inspire them to dream of standing in our shoes someday.”
Hassan Al Nuaimi, President of the Qatar Golf Association, said: “The Qatar Golf Association is especially proud each year to see two of our local players qualify to compete in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Both Saleh and Ali are regular competitors in the event now and each year they learn more and more from The European Tour’s top players. We wish them all the best and they know they will have a lot of local support.”
Stenson, Garcia and Grace are among several big names to have lifted the Mother of Pearl Trophy since Commercial Bank began its title sponsorship in 2006. Other big names include former World No. 1 Adam Scott, two-time US Open winner Retief Goosen, 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie, former European Tour No. 1 Robert Karlsson and Thomas Bjørn, a 15-time European Tour champion.
Tickets are available to buy now at a range of outlets including Virgin Megastores (Online and in-store in Doha), Ticket Master, Time Out Tickets, Q Tickets, Doha Golf Club and other places.

The Peninsula