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Alothman and Al-Malik win 87th Saudi National Day Golf Tournament

Winners pose for a group picture. (AN photo by Noel A. Alipoyo)
RIYADH: Abdulrahman Alothman and Saud Al-Malik became the latest Saudis to win their country’s prestigious National Day golf tournament on Saturday.
On a sun-splashed windless day, Alothman and Al-Malik shot a sparkling 12-under net score of 60 as they bested a full field of 120 in the 87th Saudi National Day Golf Tournament sponsored by Almarai at the Dirab Golf & Country Club on the outskirts of Riyadh.
In winning the two ball Texas Scramble format competition, Alothman and Al-Malik upheld a tradition started by a line of Saudi national team standouts namely Faisal Salhab and Fahad Almansour (2013) and Abdurahman Almansour and Abdullah Al-Hussain (2015).
“It’s an honor and special for us to win our National Day tournament. A big breakthrough indeed considering there are 120 players in the event,” said the 39-year-old Alothman who runs a family business.
With a chance to win, Alothman said they were battling nerves on their last tee.
What followed was, well, magic.
Alothman holed a chip shot for birdie from the rough in front of the green after Al-Malik’s tee-shot on the par-3 11th hole landed short of the putting surface.
“We were under tremendous pressure to convert the shot. Luckily we made it,” said Alothman.
The winning pair also had birdies on Nos. 2 and 4 in the 34-37 round of 71. After a good drive, Alothman deposited a wedge to five feet of the cup and made the putt on the par-4 second hole. On the fourth, Alothman drained a four-foot downhiller with a left-to-right break after an “amazing” tee-shot from Al-Malik, 37, who works at Global Investment House as head of portfolio management.
Starting on No. 12, their only bogeys came on the two par-fives on the back nine.
“It’s a team effort. Each one of us contributed. It’s an excellent work,” chorused Alothman and Al-Malik, who played off 11 handicap.
Muhammed Fuad and Yusry Yusuf finished runner-up by countback one stroke behind the champion on 61 in a tie with Dong Soon Kang and Chan Hwi Lee, with the golf-playing ambassadors Malaysian Zain Abedin and Pakistani Khan Hasham Bin Saddique claiming fourth place on 62 (68-6).
Bader Almufarrij clinched fifth place in his first major event, combining for 63 with Salhab. A beginning Saudi golfer, Almufarrij was encouraged by the result of his teamup with the most exciting young player Salhab. Almufarrij said he hoped more Saudis will take up golf.
Salhab took home the skill prize for longest drive with Paromita Mukherjee winning the same accolade on the distaff side. Mark Trzepacz nabbed the closest to the pin plum.
The tournament marked 22 years that Almarai Co. has been at the helm of corporate support in the promotion of golf in Saudi Arabia. Also, 60 gleaming new golf carts were unveiled for use on the day.
The winners received trophies and prizes of golf merchandise during the awards ceremony attended by Almarai Co. Managing Director George Schorderet and Events Management Manager, Corporate Communications and Public Relations, Abdulrahman M. Alhuwaifadh, as well as Dirab Golf Commitee Chairman Tariq Javed.
The Almarai-backed event officiallly kicked off the new 2017-2018 season at Dirab.