Saudi national golf team’s Othman Almulla, Faisal Salhab, and Saud Al-Sharif will join a world-class line-up at next month’s International Series England at Slaley Hall Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, near Newcastle, from June 2-5.
The trio will compete alongside American Sihwan Kim, currently ranked first on the Asian Tour Order of Merit; Korean Joohyung Kim, last season’s number one; former US Open champion Graeme McDowell from Northern Ireland and Thailand’s 15-year-old wonderkid Ratchanon “TK” Chantananuwat.
All of the players currently ranked in the top 10 on the Asian Tour Merit list will compete in the $2 million tournament, which breaks new ground as it will be the first time the Asian Tour has sanctioned a tournament in the UK. The opportunity will mean a full turnout of the Tour’s membership for the ninth event of the 2022-23 season and the second International Series event.
Following their respective 2021 triumphs — a year that also saw Saudi national team golfers clinch the title at the 40th edition of the Arab Golf Championship, beating more than 10 countries by a comfortable nine-shot margin — Almulla, Salhab and Al-Sharif will head to Slaley Hall for their second big appearance in an Asian Tour tournament after their participation in the PIF Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers.
Almulla, the Kingdom’s first-ever professional golfer, said: “I’m excited to be competing in the international series event being held at Slaley hall. To have these opportunities to compete on the world stage against some of the best players in the world is a privilege I cherish. I’m lucky to have the support and guidance of Golf Saudi to help me succeed in my professional golfing career.”
Salhab said: “I’m proud to be competing against some of the best golfers in the world, participating in such tournaments will only make my game better.
“Golf Saudi has done an amazing job in growing the game of golf within the Kingdom and being in this tournament reflects their massive support for us as players. Representing my country internationally means a lot to me and I hope I can do it in the best way.”
Al-Sharif said that he is looking forward to competing alongside his countrymen. “I’m really excited. Playing against top players on a world-class course and in a competitive atmosphere is a huge boost for our confidence and will help us become better golfers. We’ll be making the most out of this experience and showcase a positive side of Saudi golfers to the world.”
Sihwan Kim is leading the way on the Tour thanks to two victories, including a win at the first-ever International Series event, played in Thailand in March, and has earned close to half a million dollars, but Slaley Hall will also see a host of other in-form players competing.
Korean Bio Kim, who is second on the Merit list, and third-ranked Phachara Khongwatmai from Thailand will compete after recently recording their first wins on the Asian Tour following its restart in November last year after a two-year break because of the global pandemic.
Joohyung Kim, who at 19 became the second-youngest winner of the Merit title in January, has picked up where he left off from last season, with top-10 finishes in his last three events to sit in fourth place on the rankings.
Kim will make his way to the UK after competing in this week’s US PGA Championship in Oklahoma. Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana and South Africa’s Justin Harding, also in action at the season’s second Major Championship, will also be making the trip across the Atlantic.
Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, the 2019 Merit champion and six-time winner on Tour; Malaysian Gavin Green, the 2017 number one; and Australian Scott Hend, the most successful international player on the Tour with 10 victories and the 2016 Merit list winner will also be looking for strong performances in England.
Chinese-Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang, a two-time winner on the Tour since last year’s restart, and Thailand’s Nitithorn Thippong, also a winner this season, will add to a stellar line-up.
“The International Series England is a landmark event for the Asian Tour which provides our members with a great opportunity to compete internationally in an exciting, new location,” said Cho Minn Thant, commissioner and CEO, Asian Tour.
“An incredibly strong field with assemble for the tournament, which is a reflection of the appetite our members have for the International Series and will also allow us to showcase the Asian Tour’s depth in world-class talent to European fans. We have also received enormous interest from international players wanting to be part of the Asian Tour having seen our steady growth over the past few months.”
The International Series England is promoted by LIV Golf and will be followed by eight more International Series events this season.