Thomas makes cut and targets strong finish


India’s Rayhan Thomas became only the second UAE-based amateur to make the cut in the history of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on Saturday.

High winds saw the 17-year-old’s second round of 75 get split over two days due to Friday’s weather suspension but added to his opening round of 68, it left him one under for the tournament, two strokes clear of the cut mark.
He’s only the second UAE-based amateur to reach the weekend since England’s Matthew Turner, who achieved the feat in 2009 before finishing tied for 51st on level par, 19 strokes behind then champion Rory McIlroy.

Having started with four birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey on his first nine in the wind on Friday, Thomas then came out midway through his back nine to complete his second round on Saturday morning by posting a double bogey and a bogey.

The relief of making the cut was short lived however, as he then had to start his third round on the same day.

“It was awesome to make the cut but I wasn’t really thinking about it because obviously I had two more rounds to play and that was what my mind was on, but I’m pretty happy to have made the weekend,” said Thomas, who qualified to this European Tour event after winning last season’s Mena Golf Tour’s Amateur Order of Merit.

His third round on Saturday afternoon started well with five birdies and a bogey, but tiredness — from playing 24 holes in a day — caught up with him on his return as he went on to card a bogey and two double bogeys, for a 74.
He now stands two over for the tournament, tied for 54, 18 strokes behind the leader Sergio Garcia.

“I can’t complain about the start, four under through nine,” he said of his third round. “But unfortunately it fell away on the back. I think I just got a bit tired, I made a couple of bad swings and that cost me.

“But overall, I’m pretty happy with it. I played well on my front nine so there are some positives to take into tomorrow. If I keep playing like that I’ll be fine. I should shoot a good round tomorrow if I play like that.”
Asked what would constitute a good finish to an already great week, Thomas, who is the first amateur and youngest player to win a Mena Tour event, replied: “Something in the red. If I can get myself back into red figures I’ll be happy. “Tonight I’m just going to get plenty of rest, go out for dinner, get something to eat and chill.”



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