Dubai Five ready for Mongomo golfing adventure

The stage is set for the hotly anticipated $150,000 3e Actuaries Open taking place in Mongomo, Equatorial Guinea this week and the event has a strong connection to the UAE as it features seven top Mena Tour players, five of whom qualified through the DSA Architects ‘Road to Mongomo’ Qualifier presented by Worldwide Golf which took place at Al Badia Golf Club in September.

Among them is Englishman Craig Hinton who topped the Mena Tour Order of Merit after victories in South Africa and Abu Dhabi. The 28-year-old bagged the last of the five spots available at the qualifying event after a four-man play-off and he’s delighted to be finishing off his season by playing a tournament in a unique golfing environment among a field that features PGA Tour star Charlie Wi and former England cricketer-turned-pro-golfer Craig Kieswetter.

The event is taking place on the Presidential Golf Course, a stunning layout where around half of the holes weave through the Mongomo jungle and the players are being treated to the very best in African hospitality, staying at the luxurious 5-star Grand Hotel Djibloho, where their every whim is catered for, and getting a taste of what life is like for the elite Tour professionals around the world.

“It’s been an amazing experience, landing pretty much in the middle of the jungle but then driving for around 20 minutes to this amazing hotel in the middle of nowhere,” said Hinton. “It’s been a great journey so far. The layout of the golf course is unbelievable, it’s literally fairways, jungle and water! It’s a great golf course and I’m really looking forward to the tournament.

“It was touch and go whether I was going to qualify but luckily I just made it into the play-off in Dubai and it was great to get that last spot and to be here enjoying the experience, getting to play a wonderful golf course.

“It’s been a very successful year for me and topping the Mena Tour Order of Merit was the highlight. That gets me a Sunshine Tour card and a spot in the Asia Tour Final Stage Qualifying as well as a few starts on the European Tour, including the Dubai Desert Classic so I’m really looking forward to next year.”

Fellow Englishman Jordan Garnish, who won the Road to Mongomo Qualifier, is keen to test his game against a quality international field which also includes fellow Mena Tour players Luke Joy (former Dubai Creek Open winner), who played in the Mongomo event last year finishing fourth, and Lee Corfield among 67 players from 28 different countries, 14 of which are ladies including several Ladies European Tour members. The field also features two Equatorial Guinea players who are competing in their maiden pro event.

“It’s been an amazing experience so far in Africa and I’m looking forward to the rest of the adventure,” said Garnish. “It gave me some confidence winning the qualifier in Dubai but this week could be a whole new different ball game with the likes of Charlie Wi competing. I can’t wait for the challenge.”

WATCH: Craig Hinton and Jordan Garnish’s interview in Mongomo 

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Tournament host Olawale Opayinka, CEO of 3e Actuaries, said: “It’s a delight for me to live out this dream. To bring people into Equatorial Guinea from 28 countries to play in our tournament is really special. The course is in fantastic condition – it’s remarkable how well it has dried out because we’ve had some big rain fall. The Equatorial Guinean people are excited to have the tournament here and looking forward to coming out to watch over the next few days to see great golf being played in their country. We’re going to do our best to deliver great hospitality, good organisation and some high quality golf.”

The 3e Actuaries Open is taking place in Mongomo from December 8-11.

Pictured: L-R Rocco Sanjust, Jordan Garnish, Craig Hinton, Adam Sagar and Victor Betram – the five Mena Tour players who qualified through the ‘Road to Mongomo’ qualifier held in Dubai

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