DUBAI: UAE’s top-ranked golfer Ahmad Skaik has shot the lowest round ever by an Emirati golfer on the European Tour during the first round of the Aviv Dubai Championship.
Skaik made five birdies around the Fire Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates on his way to a near-flawless 68.
The 24-year-old, who kicked off proceedings hitting the first tee shot of the tournament this morning, received an invitation to the event following a strong showing at the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship, where he produced the second-best result ever by an Emirati golfer.
“It’s hard to put it into words how it feels,” Skaik said. “Although I believed it before, now I have proof that my game can be up there with some of the best. I really could trust my game out there today which feels amazing, I think I hit 16 greens, so I felt in control of the ball.
“It was an honour to hit the first tee shot again here in my home country, for sure I was nervous, but I embraced it and made a good start to the day.”
He added: “To see my Dad’s smile at the end there means everything. My goal coming into this week was to make the cut and that remains the same. I've made a good start, but I need to now keep my head down and do more of the same tomorrow.”
The home favorite is playing alongside a strong field including previous Race to Dubai winners Tommy Fleetwood, Martin Kaymer, and defending champion Antoine Rozner, as well as Paul Casey, who boasts a world ranking of 27, and European Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington.
The Aviv Dubai Championships is the penultimate tournament on the 2021 European Tour schedule, preceding the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, where the top-50 players on the Race to Dubai rankings will battle it out for the $9 million prize pot and the European Number One crown.