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History beckons as UAE's Al Musharrekh takes on golf's big guns

posted on 16/01/2014: 1888 views

Ahmed Al Musharrekh, the UAE's first golf professional, says he's on a self-styled mission to become the first Emirati to make the cut at a European Tour event.

The 23-year-old, from Sharjah will tee up on Thursday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship where he will take on some of the biggest names in the sport, including Henrik Stenson, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy.

This will mark Al Musharrekh's third attempt at cracking the National Course, which first saw him compete as a fresh-faced 19-year-old in the 2010 Championship. He returned in 2012, a year which also saw him narrowly miss the cut in the Dubai Desert Classic and which kicked off his professional career on the MENA Golf Tour.

Al Musharrekh believes he's learnt from his experiences and is now in his best career position to make a name for himself on the world stage. "The last couple of years have been huge for me in terms of gaining experience and finding my feet as a professional," said Al Musharrekh. "My life and my game have changed so much since I last played at the Championship in Abu Dhabi, and I can't wait to put everything I have learnt to the test this week. It would mean the world for me to make the cut." It won't be an easy task for the ambitious Al Musharrekh, who joins one of Abu Dhabi's most powerful line-ups at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club from January 16th-19th. Also expected to be in the mix on the final day are the likes of three-time Abu Dhabi champion Martin Kaymer, former world number one Luke Donald, Abu Dhabi's record-breaking ambassador Matteo Manassero and crowd favourite and world number 10, Sergio Garcia.

"I'll be up against some of the world's leading players, which despite having faced some of them in 2010 and 2012, is still pretty surreal and the pressure never really subsides," he said. "This year I am more prepared than ever to compete and am feeling confident about my chances - the most important thing for me is to relax and just enjoy it. That's when I play at my best." In addition to taking his place within the elite Championship field, Al Musharrekh will also feature prominently in the HSBC World of Sport, having been named as a local HSBC Sporting Ambassador for the tournament, alongside tennis legend Tim Henman and former rugby star George Gregan.

Supporting HSBC's ambition to open up the world of golf, the young Emirati will make guest appearances in the Abu Dhabi Golf Club's Championship Village, giving free tips and advice to guide a new generation of golfers in the UAE as they take their first steps in the sport.

Al Musharrekh added, "As the first and only Emirati golf professional I feel it's my duty to try to support growing the game amongst my own community in any way I can. Hopefully with a good performance I can act as a role model and inspire a new emerging generation of Emirati players. But off the course I'm really excited to have the chance to spend some time working with local youngsters just starting out in the game in the HSBC World of Sport. This tournament is so much more than a chance to watch the stars, it's a chance to pick up a club and learn. I'm absolutely thrilled to be able to play my part." Al Musharrekh turned professional in September 2012 as one of the most promising players on the regional circuit after an impressive amateur career which saw him win the 2012 GCC Championships, as well as individual and team gold medals in the 2011 Arab Games.

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism Culture Authority. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


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