RIYADH: Faisal Salhab, Golf Saudi’s highest-ranked amateur golfer, has continued to showcase his world-class ability with two top performances in England.
A tied 15th position in the Tillman Trophy at Castle Royle Golf and Country Club, and then a 16th-place finish in the world-renowned Walton Heath Trophy, have helped him prepare positively for a busy Asian Tour swing as part of the upcoming International Series.
Salhab, victorious in two events during 2021 in the Middle East and North Africa region, has started to make waves on the international stage. Shooting a low score of 65 (six under-par) in the opening round at Castle Royle, showed that the 25-year-old had found the sweet spot when it came to his game and was now ready to compete for his first win on another continent.
Both events showcased world-class amateurs, with more than 110 players in each tournament (132 competing for the Tillman Trophy and 113 for the Walton Heath Trophy). Golf courses throughout Europe are very different to those in the MENA region and Salhab’s two strong performances in England demonstrated how his skills were not only developing but becoming transferrable across a wide range of layouts and courses.
The Walton Heath Trophy and Tillman Trophy have historically had exceptional winners, including Masters champion Danny Willett and golf legend Ernie Els. Both tournaments provided a stern test of Salhab’s game and bode well for the remainder of the year.
In the build-up to his next two tournaments on the Asian Tour, Salhab said: “The preparation that I’ve done in the UK has given me a lot more confidence in my game. By playing on different courses, I’ve had to adapt to the variety of conditions, which in turn has made me more of a complete player.
“I am now focused and looking forward to competing at these next few tournaments in Asia,” he added.
Grant Smith, one of the national team coaches for Golf Saudi, has belief in Salhab’s ability, and after coaching him for a number of years reckons he is ready for the next step.
Smith said: “Both Faisal and Saud (Al-Sharif) have a tremendous amount of talent and they both proved that by competing in these high-caliber tournaments in new and challenging conditions. It was great to witness the hard work and preparation that was put in, transcending into some really positive results.
“They can be extremely proud of how they are representing themselves and their country on the international stage.”
During the same visit to England, 22-year-old Al-Sharif also put in a strong performance at Castle Royle, finishing tied 36th.
Winner of the Jordan Open in 2021, he has been recognized as an extremely talented golfer, and is excited for the remainder of 2022.
Al-Sharif said: “I have taken away many positives from my experience playing in these UK tournaments over the summer. It was a challenge not only for my physical game but also my mind.
“I proved to myself that I was able to post a good score when I needed to in order to make the cut by fighting for every shot until the final putt was sunk. I’m excited to take this mentality forward into the next events we have lined up.”
In August, both players will be heading over to the Asian Tour, playing on the International Series as recognized amateurs, in both Singapore and Korea. The events will be welcoming some of the game’s greatest players, as the Asian Tour becomes one of the most recognized tours on the planet.