By Mai Akkad
Max Williams of England took the WAGR-2013 Qatar Open Amateurs Championship today for the fourth time with a score of 223 (seven over par).
The 22-year-old, as well as two Qatari golfers, will go on to compete in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters later this month for some $2.5 million in prize money.
The nationals are 18-year-old Saleh Al Kaabi and Ghanim Al Kuwari, 30, who both tied at 8th place for a score of 234 (+18).
The players expressed mixed feelings about the upcoming tournament.
“It means a very big thing for me to compete against the pros,” Al Kaabi, a Qatar University student, told Doha News. “I know they are better than me, but I am expecting good results from myself.”
Al Kuwari appeared to be less upbeat, recalling the nervousness that prompted him to pull out of the Masters in 2001 despite qualifying for it.
“Mentally, I am not prepared to play at this stage,” said the private business owner. “But hopefully, I will feel better playing in a professional tournament this time because I have a partner with me,” he added, referring to Al Kaabi.
Their coach, former pro player Mike Elliot, said he was happy with how his players performed, considering the heavy wind conditions that continued throughout the championship.
“I’m so proud of my players,” said the American. “The conditions were so extreme so it was just so difficult to concentrate and stay focused for five hours.”
His advice to Al-Kaabi and Al Kuwari when they play with the pros is to simply control their nervousness. He also said “It is just luck that goes with it as well. If they have a bit more luck, they should do well.”
The Qatar Masters will be held from Jan. 23 to 26 at the Doha Golf Club and will include world number four Justin Rose of England and American world number nine Jason Dufner.
Credit: Photos by Mai Akkad