Moroccan ace sets the ball rolling for the region's top talent

DUBAI, Oct 10 — Ahmed Marjane made significant strides up the Order of Merit after his epoch-making victory at the Ras Al Khaimah Classic erupted into a seminal moment in the annals of the region’s greens.

The first Arab to win a MENA Golf Tour event, Marjane earned $9,000 for his sterling effort, moving into the fourth spot in the tour’s Order of Merit with $10,730 in his kitty from the first six tournaments as England’s Luke Joy ($24,612) continued to maintain his top position despite his tied 23rd position at Tower Links Golf Club.

Marjane’s breakthrough victory was the tonic that golfers from the region were looking for to contend week in and week out on a consistent basis.

“There were days when most of us took an everything-to-gain attitude into the MENA Golf Tour. But regular exposure on the tour has changed the mindset. The focus now is on winning the tournament and we have the results to prove it,”” said 22-year-old prodigy from Rabat.

“At least one player from the region has finished among the top 15s in five of the last six tournaments with Faycal (Serghini) boasting a second place to his credit. The institution of the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation is an added bonus for the MENA region player,” said Marjane referring to the award that honours the performance of the top three region’s professionals and amateurs from their respective divisions in each event.

Marjane’s victory carries more weight than money he collected from tournament play and he, along with UAE’s Ahmed Al Musharrekh, who led the field going into the final round, could well carry the mantle for the next generation of golfers from the MENA region.

Commented Mohamed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the MENA Golf Tour: “When we founded the tour in 2011, in a sense it felt like a journey into the unknown because we had no idea what the kind of response we will get.”

“All we wanted was to create a competitive environment from the region’s players to grow and become good golfers, who, in turn, will inspire youngsters to take up the sport. We have some of the best courses of international standards in region and we need more people playing there.”

“As we moved forward, things started to fall in place. Thanks to an overwhelming response of golfers from both in and outside of the region, the tour has managed to create its own niche in the world of golf in a short span of time, becoming a happy hunting ground for champions-in-waiting. The emergence of a champion from the Arab talent has certainly set the ball rolling for the MENA talent.”

Meanwhile, Scotland’s Daniel Kay has narrowed the gap on the leaders at the top of the Order of Merit for amateurs with an impressive showing at the Ras Al Khaimah Classic, where he finished a joint second overall.

The talented youngster is currently placed third with 97 points to his credit, behind the English duo of James Allan (166 points) and Craig Vance (111).

The MENA Golf Tour travels Oman on October 20 for the Ghala Valley tournament that has already attracted a strong field of 84 golfers which include 15 amateurs.

Orders of Merit after the Ras Al Khaimah Classic, the sixth stop on the 2014 MENA Golf Tour schedule:

1. Luke Joy (England) $24,612
2. Ross Mcgowan (England) $13,290
3. Joshua White (England) $12,750
4. Ahmed Marjane (Morocco) $10,730
5. Tyler Hogarty (South Africa) $10,656
6. Stuart Archibald (England) $10,315
7. Cyril Suk (Czech Republic) $9,417
8. Edouard Espana (France) $9,000
9. Faycal Serghini (Morocco) $8,601
10. Roberto Rodriguez Cacho (Mexico) $6,855

1. James Allan (England) 166 points
2. Craig Vance (England) 111
3. Daniel Kay (Scotland) 97
4. Michael Harradine (Switzerland) 93
5. James Yeomans (England) 85

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