THE stage is set for the 56th edition of The Bahrain Open golf championship, taking place this weekend at Awali Golf Club.
The competition tees off at 7am tomorrow. Today is a practice round for all the participants.
The weather forecast for the coming weekend is looking at little unsettled, with strong winds and even some rain predicted. Tournament officials are hoping for the exact opposite with only blue skies and windless days.
Approximately 90 players from around the world are entered in this year’s championship. Last year’s winner Juan Manuel Fuentes Perez returns to defend his title.
Several previous champions who will also be taking part this weekend include 2017 championship Salah Ali Al Kaabi, Nasser Yacoob, Diag Sager Al Noaimi, Ali Musbah, Hamad Mubarak Al Afnan, Dave Park and possibly Andrew Marshall. Club captain Serwin Rampersad is also in the fray.
As always, the championship will be played over two days. Should there be a tie at the end of 36 holes, there will be a sudden-death playoff on the 18th.
Saturday’s action will be followed by the awarding ceremony. The champion will receive the Bahrain Open Trophy (to be retained by Awali Golf Club) and a replica of the Trophy to keep.
Prizes will be awarded to the top players with the lowest gross scores. There will also be several other prizes, such as Nett prizes which will be awarded for the lowest Nett score over 36 holes, the lowest Nett score on day one, and the lowest Nett score on day two.
The first Bahrain Open was held in 1964. It followed the discontinued MEOGA (Middle East Oil Companies Golf Association) team trophy, which Awali had won a few years earlier at their first and only attempt.
The 1964 Open featured about 60 competitors who played for the right to claim one of three gross and two Nett prizes.
Last year, Perez won after carding an even par 70 in the final round of play to finish with a four-under-par gross of 136 and clinch the coveted title by two shots. The Bahrain national team coach won on his debut appearance in the prestigious annual competition, which was also the first time ever he played on a sand course.