Captain Craig Vance reflects on the Amateur Team’s stunning comeback to secure fourth successive Dubai Golf Trophy

The Emirates Golf Federation Amateur Team staged a stunning final day comeback at the 2019 Dubai Golf Trophy after they overcame a two-point deficit to defeat Tom Buchanan’s UAE PGA Professional Team 18-14 at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club.

The Pros were in pole position to reclaim the title for the first time since 2015 following an impressive first day of fourballs and foursomes which gave them a 9-7 advantage heading into the final day of singles. But the Amateur Team came firing out of the blocks on day two with five wins from the opening five matches with Mike Mezei, Khalid Yousuf, Captain Craig Vance, Bayhaan Lakdawala and Max Burrow putting the points on the board early on.

Zi Ang XU halved the next match while Stephen Loftus and Stephen Kelbrick added two more points before Sujjan Singh secured the first full point of the day for the Professional Team in the eighth match. But it was too late to stage a comeback as the Amateur roared to their fourth successive title after winning the singles 11 -5 to complete a stunning turnaround with the final score 18 – 14 in favour of the Amateur Team.

 

“It was a great comeback by all the guys, they really dug deep on the final day to get us over the line,” said Vance. “They all hung in there and produced the results when they were needed. I personally didn’t look at the leaderboard until I’d finished my match so it was nice to see all the games in the morning had gone our way.It was fantastic to see Toby Bishop hole the winning putt on 17. The whole team played really well to get the result and the scoring was superb from the lads.”

Vance, Burrow and Lakdawala all secured perfect records over the weekend by winning three from three but Vance was more impressed with the with strength in depth of the youngsters in the squad despite missing some key names including Rayhan Thomas and Josh Hill.

“Josh, Arjun Gupta and Rayhan were all on international duties in different parts of the world but Josh was actually the only one that had qualified for the team. I think that shows the strength in depth that we have in the team and I think the pros were pretty shocked at how strong we were.” – Craig Vance

“The young lads we have on the team are really good. Bradley Mogire has obviously played on the European Tour earlier this season in Kenya and he was the talk of the pros over the last couple of days with his driving length off the tee. The pros were amazed at how far ahead of them he was.

The Dubai Golf Trophy, which celebrated its 20th edition this year, has now seen the Amateur Team win the last four events by an outstanding combined score of 73½-54½ and Vance was delighted with the progress of the standard of golf he has seen in the region over recent years.

“The standard of golf has really stepped up over the past six or seven years,” he said. “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 but that’s also a big credit to the pros and their coaching methods.”

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