01 Jun 2022

Dubai Golf Trophy – What the pros had to say

After six long years the PGA Professionals of the UAE finally got their hands back on the Dubai Golf Trophy after one of the most dramatic finales in the event’s 23-year history.

Starting the final day singles with a one-point advantage and hoping to prevent a seventh successive defeat, the UAE pros got off to a slow start with the EGF amateurs picking up three points in the opening four matches on the Majlis at Emirates Golf Club. Yash Majmudar and Hugo Garcia both added red to the scoreboard while Craig Vance and Max Burrow halved their matches as the amateurs looked set to extend their record-breaking run in the Ryder Cup-style matches.

The pros quickly retorted with 4.5 points from the next five matches to wrestle back control with Graham Forbes, Tom Buchanan, Thomas Oglive and Ryan Smith all securing a point apiece while Olivia Jackson, who made history by becoming the first female to participate in the Dubai Golf Trophy, sealed a half against the talented Sam Mullane.

Toby Bishop, David Guinee, Tom Nesbitt and Jonathan Selvaraj kept amateur hopes alive by adding four points to the scoreboard while Oscar Yeomans and Louis Gaughan added two more for the pros.

With every match finished bar one, the pros were back to where they started the final day – a point ahead. Step forward Barry Pavic and Purna Sharma.

With a 1up lead through 15 and knowing only a full point would salvage a draw for the amateurs, the ball was in Pavic’s court. But Sharma superbly pulled level on the 16th before both players made birdie on the 17th. The 2022 Dubai Golf Trophy would be settled on the last hole of the very last match.

With every other player finished the duo were followed down the last on the Majlis by a cavalcade of carts with one estimate putting the figure at 60.

“Wow there were 60?” said a shocked Sharma.

“I saw a lot of carts but didn’t know there were that many. I felt like a bit nervous but also great at the same time. I just knew I had to focus on the game.”

With every set of eyes on the duo, Sharma knew he had to at least match Pavic’s score on 18 to get professional hands on the trophy once again. He did just that, brilliantly holding his nerve to finally stop the rot and secure one of the most dramatic victories that Emirates Golf Club has ever witnessed.

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Michael Major – Captain

The Dubai Golf Trophy is a showcase of all that is good about golf in the UAE. It does indeed raise the profile of the game in the region and once again the success of this year’s competition shows that we are in good hands as both professional and amateur golfers.

It’s been a long bumpy road these last six years, every year thinking this is the year…only to just fall short on a number of occasions.

I have no doubt that the amateur team will come back stronger than ever and even more determined to win back the trophy next year. We look forward to that.

In the meantime, I’d like to congratulate everyone in our professional team on a hard-fought victory and finally getting the trophy back.  Every year the trophy is an amazing couple of days spent with colleagues and friends, superb camaraderie on two outstanding golf courses.

Obviously, the entire team played well, but I’d like to mention some noticeable achievements. Purna – unbelievable, coming down the stretch and gaining the final half point we needed to secure the trophy with a pretty big crowd watching. Liv Jackson – the first female to qualify and play in the 16-person DGT. Ryan Smith – Mr. Consistent, Three points from three. Graham Forbes – three points as well, what a performance. Also won the UAE PGA Matchplay this year. What a match play record this season. Finally, my vice-captain, Jack Woods. Jack has been amazing since the day I choose him to be my No.2. I wish Jack all the best in his captaincy next year. He’ll do a great job and I look forward to trying my best to qualify for his team.

Finally, I would like to say how proud I am to have been, not only the professional captain this year, but to be a winning captain. It’s got a nice ring to it!

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Jack Woods – Vice Captain

Having played my first Dubai Golf Trophy back in 2016 when the amateur team started their run of victories, finally getting to be on a winning side this year was extra special. This event is the peak of our season and something we work towards all year. As usual the amateur team played some amazing golf and the spirit in which the match was played was fantastic. Captain Mikey Major has done an amazing job this year and it will be tough to follow but I am already looking forward to the challenge.

Michael Bolt

The Dubai Golf Trophy really is the pinnacle of our season. This was my sixth event and to be on the winning side for the first time was special. This team was a really fantastic group and I’m delighted for our captain Mike Major who sadly missed most of the year through injury. His leadership brought everyone together and I could not have wished to have shared this experience with a better group.

Sujjan Singh

Having played 14 years of pro golf where we represent ourselves, the DGT has been a novel experience and has quickly become an event I look forward to the most.  This edition was no exception. To be in the lead match and taking on the best players in the amateur team was a challenge I enjoyed. This year was my first win in three years and the feeling was indescribable.  I will be working hard to qualify for next year’s team and hopefully contribute to another win.

Olivia Jackson

My first DGT was definitely one for the books. Being the first female to compete was an honour and gave me pride knowing I was flying the flag for the girls. Going into the week, we knew how much it meant to every single one of the guys who have played throughout the years. Every shot, every putt and every positive comment mattered. I don’t think I stopped shaking after my putt on 18 on the final day.  Captain Mikey made sure the group chat was full of team spirit and that we had all we needed to succeed. I couldn’t have asked for a better captain or a better team to share this experience with. Coming out top was just the cherry on top of the cake.

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Louis Gaughan 

As soon as I arrived in Dubai and joined the Emirates PGA, all the pros would talk about was the Dubai Golf Trophy event at the end of the year.  It sounded like a fantastic event that I had to try be a part of and they were right. I have loved taking part each year for the last four years. However, finally winning made the experience that much sweeter. We had a fantastic team with a great attitude and confidence amongst everyone this year. Captain Major, Jack Woods and Phil Waine did a fantastic job as always and it seems fitting to have a Dubai Golf, Director of Golf regain the DGT after six long years. Participation levels were extremely high for our PGA events this season and with the tour hopefully moving from strength to strength, ending the season as a winning team seems a great end to a brilliant year for the Emirates PGA.

Tom Ogilvie

It’s without a doubt the event I look forward to most all year. Having played as an individual all year, the idea of being in a team with my friends and colleagues for this amazing event is an experience I really enjoyed. I played in my first DGT last year with this year’s captain Mikey. I could tell how much it meant to him when we walked off the Majlis this year as winners. I was very proud to represent Dubai Creek and the pro team and I’ll be doing my best to tee it up again next year.

Oscar Yeomans

Since arriving in November, the anticipation amongst the pros to overturn an abysmal run in the Dubai Golf Trophy was greatly felt, and so for it to fall to the last game on the last hole was hugely dramatic.  There was a great atmosphere within the team headed up by the captain Mikey Major and vice captains, Jack Woods and Phil Waine. It was a credit to be a part of and they motivated us to make this year our year.  All of the pros have been great fun to play with throughout the year in a jam-packed schedule playing golf at excellent courses around the UAE, and after such a great couple of days I’m keen to keep working on my game and make sure I’m back to do it all again next year.

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Purna Sharma

I was very relieved to secure that half point on the 18th. I was still shaking coming off that last green. I am very glad that we did it after so many years. I wasn’t even going to be a part of the Dubai Golf Trophy at one point as I had planned a trip back home, but after chatting with captain Mike Major I changed my plan. I’m glad I stayed back and got the chance to play an important role for the win. I would like to thank our captain Mike and the full team for the camaraderie shown. Also, thanks to all involved in the DGT as well as Pro Sports International.

Ryan Smith

Another great weekend of the Dubai Golf Trophy and a privilege to be part of this group. Winning back the trophy means so much to each professional, and the way that it was won coming to the last hole was something very special and a moment to be remembered for a long time.

Jackson Bell

Monday was the best day of the golfing season. What a team performance from start to finish. Everyone contributed. I felt the team was really strong this year and personally I was delighted to make the team after a long spell out with injury. We had a real team bond this year and I think that showed and got us over the line. We knew how strong they were so we really had to dig deep. Six years in the making. Hopefully we can hold on to it now. Great end to the season.

Steven Munro

I’ve played many a DGT over the years although I’ve only played once in the last six years when the amateurs started taking over and been more successful. It’s always an honour to play in the team and we strive throughput the year to qualify for the team. It’s the most enjoyable weekend we have throughout the season and over the years it has become more and more competitive but still played in great spirit. I was absolutely delighted to be part of the team this year and to be able to help contribute to our first win in the last seven attempts. I was so happy the event went down to the last hole of the last game and delighted for Purna to grab the winning half point for the team. The camaraderie is fantastic within this team and I’m already looking forward to taking on the amateurs again next year and in years going forward.

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Nathan Kernaghan

I’d watched the Dubai Golf Trophy last year but as a rookie coming in to play I didn’t quite know what to expect. When you’re inside the ropes playing and getting the full experience it’s an unbelievable couple of days. I had a great partner in Jackson Bell for the first two rounds and we gelled extremely well. We played some great golf and to not have to go past the 15th hole for two rounds was unbelievable and to finish the match with a pretty nice hole in one topped off the best day I’ve ever had on a golf course. It was probably the best shot I’ve ever hit as well. To see the trophy come down to the last hole on Monday was dramatic and quite fitting for a great event. A lot of lifelong memories with the great team and hopefully we can do it again
next year.

Luke Plumb

What a fantastic weekend of golf we had. I’m extremely privileged to be able to play with my friends and my peers against the amateurs. It was pretty special for all of us, I think we are all still on a high. I’ve played in 10 Dubai Golf Trophies now and obviously the first three years we won while the last six years ended in defeat so I had kind of forgot that feeling of winning with the team. This DGT was certainly my favourite, getting that win again and the fact that it came down to the last game – it was a fantastic feeling. I’m so glad we did it for captain Mikey and everyone on the team. I can’t wait to play again next year and hopefully we can win again.

Tom Buchanan

The DGT, as always, was a wonderful event. It’s one weekend, we as pros, look forward to competing against our amateur peers. Day one was very tight with lots of good golf and to be one point ahead gave us a slender advantage. The second day singles didn’t look very good for us at one stage. We were struggling early doors with lots of red on the scoreboard but towards the end we swung it around and were looking very comfortable. Then again, as so often happens in many of these trophies, it swung towards the amateurs after they secured a couple of points and won some big holes late on, but thankfully for us Purna got the job done at the end and allowed us to secure the victory after six long, hard years of losing. It’s always a pleasure and Dubai Golf always put on such a great show, without them the event just doesn’t happen so a massive thank-you to them.

Graham Forbes

It’s fantastic to finally get the win… I know the guys have been waiting a long time for this. My second Dubai Golf Trophy after losing out last year, which was a sore one to take so it felt amazing to bounce back this year. I thought the pairings made a big difference – both partners I had, Olivia Jackson and Steven Munro, were absolutely brilliant and we meshed well together to get the business done and bring home the points. In the singles, I played young Jay Mullane, who is a very talented player so it was good to get another win against him. I think he’ll go on and do things in golf. Cannot wait to get going next year and trying to make two in a row.

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Sam MacLaren

The Dubai Golf Trophy is always the highlight of the season. It’s great having something to play for at the end of the season and this has definitely been the most difficult in my time to get into the squad. Last year I qualified fairly comfortably with less points than I ended up with this year, which shows the standard of the professional game has gone up in the region. I think all the pro team were pretty much in agreement that in terms of strength and depth this was one of the strongest teams we’ve had in a long time, definitely since I’ve been here. When you looked down the list of players you knew everyone was going to go out and do a job – there wasn’t any weak players or pairings. Me and my partner Purna on the first day halved both of our matches and you don’t think too much about it at the time but then you look at the narrowest of margins that we won by, it’s literally one putt here or there. It’s always a brilliant two days put on by Dubai Golf with both courses in superb condition. It just makes me want to keep my game sharp to try and make the team next year. Disappointingly I lost my singles match but I would have happily lost that had I known that we would go and get the trophy back. It was definitely the best DGT I’ve been a part of especially with the camaraderie and team spirt shown. Lastly a big thanks to Michael Major, who did a great job and his picks were brilliant because of everyone contributed to the win.

Ginger Delacretaz

To be part of the ladies team at the DGT was an unbelievable experience. To be given this opportunity really took me out of my comfort zone but also made me realise how lucky I was to play golf with such great teammates and incredible competitors. Nothing equals the feeling of winning a point for your team and that was what motivated each one of us as an individual to give our ultimate best. I’m looking forward to many more winning years from the professional team.

Lea Pouillard

First year for me in the pro team of Dubai Golf Trophy, and what a year. I enjoyed the process of this competition, qualifying during our PGA events all year.  It reminded me of playing amateur team golf competitions. I loved this part of my golfing career and have missed it since turning pro. It was so refreshing to be a part of a team again, especially with such an amazing team!  It was a pleasure to play for captain Michael Major and Jack Woods, they led the team well to victory. I look forward to hopefully playing in this great event again next year and future years to come.

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