7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE -

The UAE’s No. 1 am­a­teur golfer Ray­han Thomas is hop­ing to show­case his con­sid­er­able tal­ent this week­end when he plays along­side Europe’s ris­ing stars in the in­au­gu­ral Ras Al Khaimah Golf Chal­lenge. The 16-year-old is part of a 105strong field for the Chal­lenge Tour event at Al Hamra Golf club, which starts on Wed­nes­day. Hav­ing al­ready im­pressed on the MENA Tour this sea­son, Thomas is un­fazed at the prospect of play­ing in the penul­ti­mate event on the Chal­lenge Tour. “I don’t have any ex­pec­ta­tions for the tour­na­ment and will just take it shotby-shot,” Thomas told 7DAYS. “But it will be a good mea­sur­ing stick for where I need to be. That is the main thing about play­ing in events like this.” The Dubai-based teenager has ex­pe­ri­enced plenty of suc­cess al­ready this sea­son, be­com­ing the first am­a­teur to win on the MENA Tour and also tri­umph­ing at the Scot­tish Boys’ Open. De­spite these vic­to­ries, he is re­fus­ing to get car­ried away and still plans to fin­ish school­ing be­fore at­tempt­ing to play col­lege golf in Amer­ica. “Af­ter win­ning the Qatar Am­a­teur I left school and started study­ing at home so now I can prac­tice six days a week, five hours a day,” said Thomas. “I am also in the gym and do yoga so it’s around seven to eight hours of train­ing a day. “But I want to fin­ish school and I would re­ally like to play in the States but if I keep pro­gress­ing I will have some big de­ci­sions to make.” For now, Thomas is con­cen­trat­ing on ex­celling on his Chal­lenge Tour de­but in Ras al Khaimah. And de­spite be­ing the only teenager in the field he is far from ner­vous. He added: “I’m just go­ing to treat it like any other event,“My iron play is on point so I’ll be look­ing to cap­i­talise by hit­ting some good shots and hol­ing some putts.”

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