Muscat: With one day of play behind them, the 40 players participating in the 17th GCC Golf Championships were raring to go on the second day of play, yesterday. Several low scores were carded on the first day and, with the weather remaining moderate on Monday, many players were hoping to get ahead of their GCC counterparts. Nasser Yacoob of the Bahrain National Team carded the lowest score of the day with a total of 70, 2 under par.
"The course was beautiful, the conditions were perfect, and my putting was good. I learned a lot yesterday, and today I put it all together, and it paid off. The Almouj Golf course is very challenging, with narrow fairways and very fast greens. I have been concentrating on making sure my drives are in the centre of the fairway and setting myself up for as few putts as possible."
He credited his playing partners for keeping him on his toes and not letting him take it easy: "Tomorrow is another day, and it will be a challenge to stay ahead since everyone's standard is improving."
Qatar's Ali Al Bishi remains the overnight leader in the adult category after parring the course on the second day, adding to his 2-under par on the first day. He will go into the final day with a total of 142, a 6-shot advantage over second-place Hamad Mubarak and Nasser Yacoob, both of Bahrain. Leading the Omani teams is Azzan Al Rumhi, who was disappointed with his score today but stayed ahead of the UAE players, many of whom were amongst the favourites.
For the team scoring, Bahrain remained at the top, holding 446 points, followed by Qatar at 457 points, the United Arab Emirates at 485 points, and Oman at 514 points. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait rounded off the table with 526 and 585 points, respectively.
Yesterday's leader in the junior category, with the lowest nett score, was Ahmed Al Balushi, who was very happy with his round yesterday but was acutely aware of having to maintain his consistency over the following days. To his credit, he did exactly that and ended the championships in second place with a very impressive score to stay close to eventual winner, Faisal Salhab of Saudi Arabia. UAE player Abdullah Al Qubasi followed in to take third place.
The best news of the day was the overall result of the junior team. Playing for only two days—as opposed to the adults, who played for a full three days — the Omani team secured second place overall, keeping their cool, staying ahead of the other teams, and keeping the eventual leaders, the UAE, under pressure.
Hosting the GCC Golf Championship was possible as a result of the efforts of Golf Oman and the support of the Ministry of Sport and key sponsors who see the long-term benefits of developing the sport of golf in Oman. These sponsors include Etihad Airways, National Bank of Oman, and OmanTel. Almouj Golf is the official venue sponsor for the 17th GCC Golf Championships.