This year’s Dubai Golf Trophy is set to be another hotly contested affair with the team of professionals – led by Captain Luke Plumb – determined to stop the rot and put an end to the amateur team’s recent dominance.
“The amateurs have won the last four years with the emergence of great talent in Dubai such as Rayhan Thomas, Josh Hill and Toby Bishop,” said Plumb, Resort Sales Manager – Sports & Leisure at JA The Resort. “Mix the youngsters in with stalwarts such as Bayhaan Lakdawala, Craig Vance and Steve Kelbrick and they have a great side.” This year is Plumb’s first taste of captaincy and he can’t wait to get going, with the opening day set for foursomes match-play and better ball match-play at Jumeirah Golf Estates before the singles matches on day two at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club.
“This will be my eighth year playing in the event and first time as Captain,” he said. “The competition is very friendly and respectful between the two teams and the professionals know a lot of the amateurs from their jobs at different golf clubs and academies, however when we tee it up it’s extremely competitive with both teams desperate to win. “The bragging rights are certainly important as we see each other throughout the year and are usually reminded whether you have won or lost.” Last year the amateurs won their fourth successive title with an 18-14 margin of victory and Plumb is ready to wrest the title back off the amateur Captain Steven Kelbrick.
“I get on with Steve great, he is a member of Trump International where I worked previously so I have played quite a bit of golf with him in the past,”said Plumb.“We also played against each other in the singles in the event two years ago which ended in a half. The interest is extremely high amongst the golfing community this year and this is the best event of the year for the professionals without doubt.”
“The event was due to be played in April but had to be rearranged due to the lockdown, so we’re extremely grateful to Dubai Golf for rescheduling the event. I think it’ll be a great message as well that the golf industry is pushing forward, despite the situation, in hosting this great event.”
The teams of 16 are set to go head-to-head in what is the 21st staging of the event with the team members made up of the leading players across their respective order of merits. The professionals will have 14 qualifiers and two wildcard selections while the amateurs see 12 qualify and four players selected.
Christopher May, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Golf, said: “There is always a strong competitive spirit between the two teams and this makes the Dubai Golf Trophy a fantastic event to be part of. “The tournament was founded on the principle of raising the profile of golf in the region and bring golfers from clubs all over the UAE together in a competitive and enjoyable format, which provides a focus for players to aim for throughout the qualifying events during the season.”
Last year the amateurs staged a superb final day comeback after they overcame a two-point deficit to defeat Tom Buchanan’s professional team 18-14 at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. “The standard of golf has really stepped up over the past six or seven years,” reflected 2019 amateur Captain Craig Vance. “You used to be able to win a tournament on level par, whereas now if you aren’t four under par you don’t stand a chance. “The youngsters have really pushed us older guys and credit must go to the pros and their coaching methods.”