29 Oct 2017

Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge proves a hit again in second running

The second edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge proved to be a major success yet again as the European Challenge Tour stars put on a show at Al Hamra Golf Club.

Jens Dantorp came out on top in RAK to catapult from 48th to 13th in the Road to Oman rankings before going on to secure a European Tour card with a tied fifth place finish at the season ending NBO Golf Classic Grand Final the following week and the Dane was delighted with his performance and the hospitality he received in Ras Al Khaimah.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend in RAK,” says Dantorp. “I tend to play better when it is warm, the grass was in mint condition and I felt very comfortable so I think those two factors helped me to achieve this triumphant result.

“It was a wonderful event and I am very pleased to win this title.”

Dantorp was pushed all the way to a thrilling playoff by Poland’s Adrian Meronk with both players finishing on 15-under.

The pair headed back down to the 18th tee and Swedish ace Dantorp powered his drive down the centre of the fairway before firing a phenomenal approach on the 557-yard hole to within six feet of the pin which he described as being like Henrik Stenson’s iconic shot on the 18th in the 2013 DP World Tour Championship.

Meronk rolled in his birdie putt but the Dantorp held his nerve to hole an eagle putt and claim the $56,000 (Dh205,670) winner’s cheque.

Although he just missed out on the victory, Menronk was happy with his performance which was done under immense pressure as he needed a top-two finish to book his place in the season-ending NBO Golf Classic Grand Final with the other top 45.

“I am happy with my performance and even though I could not clinch the trophy, I have enjoyed myself here and I am sure it is going to be even better next year,” adds Meronk. “The course at Al Hamra Golf Club is so well-maintained and in fantastic condition.”

Another Challenge Tour talent that cherished the event in the UAE was Victor Perez who finished tied seventh.

 The Frenchman said: “The Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge was a great event and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here. I felt very at ease playing in it and the players were impressed with the organisation of this event.”

The event has proved a huge hit with the Challenge Tour players in its two editions and much credit must go to Haitham Mattar and his team at Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority who have done an incredible job to build the event. The proud CEO also spoke to Worldwide Golf’s Ashraf Ahmed after the tournament about what it takes to make the event such a triumph.

“It has been a very successful event and I am very proud of this achievement,” says Mattar.

“The RAKTDA team worked day and night to make sure that everything was in place.

“The one main thing that we added was the Fan Village to attract more families and provide entertainment for the spectators. Along with the food trucks and the bouncy castle, we managed to attract more than 80 children to the club.

“Last year was an important learning curve for all of us and this year we have really improved in providing better facilities on the golf course itself, the players can also feel the improvements on the turf and also the facilities around them.”

“Overall, it has been a fantastic event, we are so happy with this outcome and all I can say is onwards and upwards.”

The Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge is another feather in the cap of the UAE golf scene and with the current Challenge Tour Grand Final in Oman set to be promoted to a full European Tour event next season, who knows what the future holds for showpiece at Al Hamra Golf Club.

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