On February 7– 8, 2020 the Emirates Golf Federation (EGF) hosted the 2020 UAE Presidents Cup at Yas Links Abu Dhabi. Sponsored by HSBC, the 8th edition of the UAE Presidents Cup saw it’s the largest number of participants since the event first started in 2013. 94 players competed in the main event and 24 players played in the Par 3 Championship. Winning for his first ever Presidents Cup title Ahmad Skaik was the 2020 Champion.
Firing a UAE Presidents Cup record Ahmad Skaik shot rounds of 71 and 68 for a championship of 139, five under par. Skaik’s five under (139) is the lowest score recorded since the start of the event in 2013. Skaik has had a great 2019 and 2020 golf season coming into the “UAE Championship” with an appearance at the 2019 APGC Amateur Golf Championship, a Bronze Team and Individual Medal at the 2019 GCC Golf Championship, and competing in his first European Tour event at the 2020 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship presented by EGA.
“It feels amazing to finally win this event. I have come close in the past two years with a second and third place finishes but being able to close the door this weekend and being the UAE Champion is an amazing honor,” Ahmad said after the event.
“All weekend I was spot on off the tee, it was probably the best I’ve ever hit the driver. My driving off the tee made it easy to hit greens and roll some decent putts. I have been working hard the past few months and it shows that I learned from my mistakes and corrected them for this championship.”
This year’s event saw some good scoring with the top three players shooting level par or better and after round one, the top five players were all just four shots apart.
Skaik went on to add, “this year the competition was strong and it’s good to see so many players competing in this event. The EGF and HSBC have done a great job running this event and continuing to make it grow every year”.
Just two shots back and taking the Runner-Up prize with rounds of 71 – 70 for an event total of 141 was the defending championship, Khalid Yousuf. Khalid and Ahmad were battling it out all weekend and it came down to the last few holes but with birdies on 16 and 17, Ahmad had a two-shot lead heading into the last hole. With both tapping in for par on the challenging 18th hole at Yas Links Ahmad came away with the championship.
Rounding out the top three and coming in Third Place, was Saif Thabet. Saif shot rounds of 73 – 71 for a 144 total. Although Saif didn’t win the event this weekend he had a massive smile after the final round due to his first ever Hole in One on the daunting hole number 17 at Yas Links. In a social media post both Skaik and Saif went on to congratulate each other but Saif couldn’t have said it any better with his comment “my moment but your day.”
Keep with the theme, Mr. Abdulla Al Marzooqi hit his first Hole in One during the final round on the 179-yard hole number eight. A great accomplishment by the Yas Links Member.
The event also presented players with the chance to win a Net Prize. The overall Net Winner for 2020 was EGF Vice Chairman Mr. Adel Zarouni. Mr. Zarouni went on to fire a net score of 70 – 69 for a championship total of 139 net.
With the newly added Senior Division in 2019, the event saw over 20 different competitors that were over the age of 50 years old competing for a prize. The winner of the Senior Division with gross scores of 81 – 83 for a total of 164 was EGF Board Member Mr. Khalfan Al Kaabi.
Winning the Ladies Division for her first time was Aliya Al Qubaisi. “Today was my day”, Aliya said after posting a final round score of one under (71). After shooting an 81 for round one Aliya needed a big day two and that’s what she got. For a 153-championship total and her first Presidents Cup win, the EGF is looking forward to seeing more great golf from Aliya.
The Ladies Overall Net winner was Dr. Rabab Al Haj with a net score of 142, 11 strokes better from last year.
In the always growing Junior Division, 15 boys competed for their top prize. Walking away with the 2020 Junior Division title was Sultan Al Jassmy. Sultan shot a championship total of 170 to claim his second UAE Presidents Cup victory.
Winning the Runner-Up prize in the Junior Division was Salem Al Maazmi with a championship total of 173 and taking home the Junior Net prize was Abdulla Kalbat.
In efforts to develop the game of golf within the national community, the 2020 UAE Presidents Cup sponsored by HSBC also hosted a Par 3 Championship on the Yas Links challenging Academy Course. This year’s event also offered the UAE Special Olympic Team players to compete in the Par 3 Championship.
22 members of the EGF National Foundation Squad and two players from the UAE Special Olympic Golf Team, between the ages of 5 and 15, competed in a 9-hole, Par 3 Championship. Winning the 10 & Under Girls Division was Latifa Al Jassmy. Winning the 10 & Over Girls Division was Sara Al Hashmi. Winning the 10 & Under Boys Division was Ahmad Al Owais and winning the 10 & Over Boys Division was Al Sumaiba.
“The addition of the Par 3 Championship is important to the EGF and the UAE Presidents Cup as this will showcase the future generation of golfers. This year we also invited the UAE Special Olympic Gol Team to compete in the Par 3 Championship. Golf is one of those sports that it doesn’t matter your ability, age, or gender, everyone has the opportunity to play and compete. These kids will be the future National Team players and the future players that will keep the game of golf flourishing in the UAE”, said Khalid Mubarak Al Shamsi the Secretary General of the EGF.
Al Shamsi also added, “On behalf of the Emirates Golf Federation we would like to thank HSBC for their sponsorship and Yas Links for hosting our event”.
HSBC is a globally recognized organization in banking with an event management sector that has a purpose to be where the growth is. With impressive golf events like the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and worldwide influence on junior golf programs, HSBC was an easy fit for the EGF and this event.
To close the event the award ceremony was graced with HH Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, along with other dignitaries from HSBC, UAE Special Olympic Committee, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, and EGF Board of Directors.
To view all photos from this event find the Emirates Golf Federation on Facebook and Social Media. The EGF will be back in action at the next month at the National Monthly Medal on March 28thn, at Dubai Hills Golf Club.