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

Winners pose for a group picture. (AN photo by Noel A. Alipoyo)
Updated 24 September 2017
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Alothman and Al-Malik win 87th Saudi National Day Golf Tournament

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.


What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

Updated 19 April 2018
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What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

  • Al-Hilal won their 15th top-flight title this season.
  • Big summer for Saudi Arabia football with the Green Falcons at the World Cup.

Now the Saudi Professional League season is over for another year Arab News can look back at their title tilts and what the big four clubs have to do over the coming months ahead of the next season.

 



AL-HILAL

Finished: Champions

Coaching situation: Ramon Diaz was in charge for much of the season, but was fired in February after setbacks in the Champions League.
Assistant Juan Brown did Okay in the final stretch, but a top-class coach could get more out of this team.

Squad priorities: A reliable goalscorer to support Omar Khribin and with veteran defender Osama Hawsawi leaving for pastures new, a replacement center-back with leadership qualities. Welcoming back the major stars — Carlos Eduardo, Khribin, Nawaf Al-Abed and Salem Al -Dawsari — will be a major boost.

Aim next season: Win the AFC Champions League

 



AL-AHLI

Finished: Second

Coaching situation: Sergiy Rebrov is out of contract at the end of June. His future is likely to depend on how the team fares against Al-Sadd in the second round of the AFC Champions League in May.

Squad priorities: There is not much wrong. The Jeddah giants were the highest scorers in the league last season and had the second best defense. Keeping star midfielder Leonardo fit will help as will a little cover in the center of defense. Star striker Omar Al-Somah fell out with the coach in a public way in the penultimate game of the season. It may be that one of them has to go. The Syrian has been player of the year for three years and has a longer contract than Rebrov.

Aim next season: Win the league. Maintain good performances in Asia.


 
AL-NASSR

Finished: Third

Coaching situation: Krunoslav Jurcic arrived in January and the former Croatian national team boss produced an upswing in results. May just be a temporary appointment and it needs to be sorted quickly.

Squad priorities: Looks good with the Saudi Arabia national team keeper, a strong center-back pairing of Omar Hawsawi and Bruno Uvini and the full-back position seemingly sorted with the January signing of Saad Suhail. They probably need a defensive midfielder and have to keep Junior Kabananga. The DR Congo striker has shown enough in his few weeks at the club to suggest that he could be a real star next season, especially with Leonardo pulling the strings behind him.

Aim next season: A genuine title challenge and getting through the play-offs into  the 2019 AFC Champions League.

 


AL-ITTIHAD

Finished: Ninth

Coaching situation: A bottom half finish is unacceptable for a team with Al-Itithad’s stature and history. Chilean coach Jose Luis Sierra may find that winning domestic cups is no substitute for challenging for the title.

Squad priorities: There is too much reliance on players such as Carlos Villanueva, a creative spark in the team, and Fahad Al-Ansari, the midfield engine, who are the wrong side of 30. The possible return of star winger Fahad Al-Muwallad will help, but an introduction of energy is needed.

Aim next season: Top three and, if the team wins the King’s Cup, a good showing in the 2019 AFC Champions League.