UAE residents gunning for glory at Abu Dhabi Challenge

Local golf coach Louis Gaughan will rub shoulders with the stars of the Challenge Tour at next week’s Abu Dhabi Challenge (April 27-30) after securing an invitation from the Emirates Golf Federation (EGF) for winning the Emirates PGA Championship.

Gaughan, who is a PGA Professional at Dubai Hills Golf Club, fired rounds of 71 and 69 at Jumeirah Golf Estates to beat Graham Forbes by one stroke.

With the victory, Gaughan receives one of the thirty spots in the Abu Dhabi Challenge that have been allocated to the EGF to help create playing opportunities and provide a pathway for both Emirati golfers and residents of the UAE.

The Scotsman will go up against the likes of back-to-back Hero Dubai Desert Classic champion Stephen Gallacher and 2023 Road to Mallorca leader Ugo Coussaud at Abu Dhabi Golf Club as the Challenge Tour returns to the UAE for the first time in five years.

“I’m looking forward to next week and hopefully my boss will give me some time off for a practice round,” said Gaughan.

“I always try and play once or twice a week during the season, but I will definitely practice a bit more before next Thursday. I have just seen the published entries for the event, it will be good to catch-up with a few friends who are also playing, including Stephen Gallacher, who comes from Bathgate Golf Club, the same club that I grew up at.”

 Joining Gaughan as professional invitees that are based in the UAE will be MENA Tour player Luke Joy, former Challenge Tour winner Dominic Foos, Els Club member Joshua Grenville-Wood and the UAE’s first professional golfer Ahmed Al Musharrekh.

“I’m very grateful to have received an invite from the EGF as this really feels like a home event to me,” said Foos, who has been a resident in the UAE for eight years.

“I have some great memories from Abu Dhabi Golf Club having finished 11th there at the 2019 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, so I can’t wait to get going next week.”

Luke Joy added: “I’m massively looking forward to playing on the Challenge Tour as I’ve never played on that circuit before. I’ve played a few times on the DP World Tour so I’m guessing it will be just as much fun. The Challenge Tour is renowned for its depth of field and quality of players; these are the guys that are striving to get onto the DP World Tour and beyond, so it’s going to be nice to compete against them and give it my best shot. It’s fantastic for the region, the local pros and the Emirates Golf Federation, who I can’t thank enough for the opportunity.

“I’m really hoping guys like (leading UAE amateur) Ahmad Skaik can push on and get some really good experience, but ultimately try and make the cut and push up the leaderboard as much as they can.”

 The Abu Dhabi Challenge will precede the UAE Challenge (May 4-7) which is being held at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club.

The two events are part of the European Tour group’s long-term partnership with the EGF, which aims to develop golf in the United Arab Emirates for at least the next decade.

Golf fans in the Middle East are encouraged to come down to both events to support Skaik and a host of the UAE’s homegrown players, as well as the global stars of the future, with entry free of charge and no ticket required.

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