Alex Levy seeking win at the UAE Challenge

Five-time DP World Tour winner Alex Levy is eager to maintain his momentum at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club for this week’s UAE Challenge (April 25-28), building on his impressive runner-up finish at the Abu Dhabi Challenge.

That result at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club was the Frenchman’s third consecutive top ten on the Challenge Tour this season after finishes of tied seventh and fourth during the Tour’s double-header in India last month.

Those impressive results have seen him surge to second on the 2024 Road to Mallorca Rankings, with Levy hoping for more of the same this week when the second edition of the UAE Challenge tees off on Thursday.

“I played really well in Al Ain,” said Levy who entered yesterday’s final round tied for the lead with Wilco Nienaber and eventual winner Garrick Porteous, before finishing just one stroke back from the Englishman. “I had the chance, it was not my day yesterday but the game is looking good so that’s the most important thing.

“I’m looking forward to this week and it’s nice it’s good to have some results like this, especially as I didn’t practice a lot the last few weeks. To play like I did last week, during my first week back, it’s really nice.”

The 33-year-old finished 126th in the Race to Dubai Rankings last year to narrowly miss out on retaining his playing rights on the DP World Tour, but is seeking an immediate return through the Race to Mallorca Rankings, where the top 20 players will earn a card for golf’s Global Tour following the conclusion of the season.

“Challenge Tour gets bigger year after year,” said Levy, who last won on the DP World Tour in 2018 at the Trophée Hassan II.

“Two Challenge Tour graduates (Matteo Manaseero and Jesper Svensson) from last season have already won on the DP World Tour after just five months, which is great publicity for the Tour.

“There are some really good players out here, I’m happy to be competing against these youngsters to try and get full DP World Tour playing rights once again.”

Levy will be joined by a strong field this week at the Gary Player-designed masterpiece, including Abu Dhabi Challenge champion Porteous, 2015 Abu Dhabi Championship winner Gary Stal and the UAE’s No.1 professional golfer Joshua Grenville-Wood.

A whole host of UAE-based amateurs and professionals will also be competing thanks to co-promoter, the Emirates Golf Federation’s (EGF) long-term partnership with the European Tour group, which aims to develop golf in the UAE for at least the next decade.

As part of that agreement, the EGF received 60 invitations across last week’s Abu Dhabi Challenge and the UAE Challenge to help create playing opportunities and provide a pathway for UAE golfers. Local amateurs featuring this week include UAE National Team players Ahmad Skaik, the country’s No.1 amateur, Sam Mullane and Jonathan Selvaraj.

Akram Skaik, Director General of the EGF, recently expressed the importance of giving UAE players the opportunity to compete against the game’s star names in elite level competition, which is something Levy agrees with, having witnessed the growth of the game in the UAE over the years.

“I think it’s a really nice initiative,” said Levy, who first played in the UAE at the 2013 Abu Dhabi Championship.

“I know the UAE do a lot of things to push golf, as the game is massive here. I think it’s nice to see some young kids come to play in these two events and compete against the pros. It’s a great experience for them.

“I practice a lot in Dubai, especially during the winter break – the ranges are always busy and golf courses are always full, it’s tough to find a tee time.

“The last few months, I’ve been practicing at the Tommy Fleetwood Academy, where there were loads of young kids using the facilities. It’s great to see that and hopefully we’ll see plenty more in the future, who will go on to become good players.”

Golf fans are encouraged to come along to the UAE Challenge, which is supported by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Emirates Golf Federation, Arena, Phoenix Capital and Al Laith to see Levy, Skaik, Grenville-Wood and the stars of tomorrow in action with entry free of charge and no ticket required.

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