DOHA: Lee Corfield celebrated his 31st birthday in style when he eagled the final hole to win the MENA Golf Tour’s Qatar Classic at Doha Golf Club yesterday.
Tied for lead overnight, the Englishman rolled in the tricky match-winning putt from 26 feet to close with a level-par 72, finishing at five-under 211 for his first title on the MENA Golf Tour.
Tournament favourite Stephen Dodd of Wales, Zane Scotland of England and Scotland’s Fraser McKenna were tied for second on a three-under 213 with England’s Daniel Owen taking solo fifth on a two-under 214.
Young Yakub Hrinda, a ninth grade student at Doha College, turned in a mature performance that belied his 13 years of age when he won the amateur division on level-par 216, one shot ahead of England’s James Allan.
Just when it appeared the tournament headed for a playoff, Corfied conjured a piece of magic to settle the issue.
“I am simply over the moon,” enthused Corfied after receiving the winner’s trophy and a cheque for $9,000 from Mohammed Faisal Al Naimi, executive director of the Qatar Golf Association, and Fahad Nasser Al Naimi, general secretary of the association.
Mohamed Juma Bumaim, chairman of the MENA Golf Tour and Chris Myers, General Manager of Doha Golf Club, were also present.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better finish. The win is a lovely birthday present,” said Corfied who qualified for the MENA Golf Tour after finishing runner-up on United Kingdom’s Jamega Golf Tour Order of Merit.
“To be honest, I didn’t play all that well today, just managed to keep my round going by holing a couple of clutch putts. I had a good opportunity on the final hole and luckily the ball went in for eagle,” he said. “It’s fun to play on MENA Tour. They are doing a fantastic job and the tour growing, which is great.”
It was young Hrinda who flashed glimpses of his precocious talent when he closed with a two-under 70 to overshadow many experienced played in the amateur division.
Elsewhere, Morocco’s Faycal Serghini finished in a tie for 14th on two-over 218 while England’s Asian Tour veteran Yasin Ali settled for tied 11th on level-par 216.