DOHA: The 28th edition of the Qatar Open Amateur Golf Championship will be held from January 10 to 12 at the Doha Golf Club (DGC), it was announced here yesterday.
The tournament, an annual fixture on the Qatar Golf Association (QGA) calendar, has had been a hit with the amateur golfers from all over the world. This year 140 golfers from 33 countries will be competing in the three-day event.
The field includes nine Qatar national team golfers for the 54-hole stroke play event.
The top two Qatari players of the tournament will get a chance to play in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters 2013 along with the winner of the event. Yoseph Dance of the US won the championship last year.
“With the winner earning a berth to the Commercialbank Qatar Masters plenty is at stake for the amateur golfers in the fray. For the national players it would be a great opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the best amateur golfers in the world,” said QGA President Hassan Al Nuaimi, while addressing a Press conference at DGC.
The Commercial Bank Qatar Masters 2013 will be held from January 23 to 26 at DGC and will be contested by the best professionals on the European PGA Tour.
The three-day event will have 51 competitors who be arriving in Doha for the event from tomorrow, informed QGA officials.
“The cut will be applied after two days of play and the successful golfers will battle it out over last 18 holes for the top honours. The top 60 qualifiers advance to the third and final round to be held on January 12. The championship is open for amateur players, with nine or less handicap, and is a world amateur golf ranking event,” added Al Nuaimi.
The tournament, initially played over two rounds and 36 holes, got a huge facelift in 2010, when the Scotland-based prestigious body Royal and Ancient (R&A) gave it the World Amateur Golf Ranking status.
The recognition means players taking part in the tournament are officially assessed and ranked according to a worldwide system launched by the R&A in 2007.
The ranking system monitors competitions all over the world and awards ranking points appropriately.
The R&A is the ruling authority of golf everywhere, except the United States and Mexico, where this responsibility rests with the United States Golf Association (USGA).
It works in collaboration with national amateur and professional golf organisations in more than 100 countries.
The Qatar Armed Forces is the main sponsor of the event.
Qatar Olympic committee, InterContinental Doha Hotel, Al Muftah Rent-A-Car and Doha Golf Club are the other sponsors.
Qatar’s Armed Forces have a long history of sports with several of the country’s top athletes and footballers employed with them, and although they have sponsored several local squash, tennis and athletics events in the past, this is the fourth successive year they are supporting an international golf tournament.
“We are pleased with our association with Qatar Open Amateur Golf championship which is one of the few prestigious amateur events in the region. It is a long-term relationship we (Qatar Armed Forces) have built with Qatar Golf Association and it is growing. This sponsorship is to demonstrate our commitment towards sports in the country,” said Dahlan Al Hamad.
Dahlan has been involved in sports for a long time. He is the president of the Qatar Athletics Federation and is an International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) council member since 2003.
The Championship has come a long way since its inception in 1983, when it was contested over a sand course in Umm Said, to become an international tournament, which will be played at Qatar’s state-of-the-art 27-hole golf facility.