ONE of Bahrain’s top amateur golf players has his sights set on building on his successes from last year and winning the Bahrain Open which starts on Friday at the Awali Golf Club.
Ahmed Mohammed Al Zayed, 25, won the 4th Annual Bahrain Amateur Open at the Royal Golf Club (RGC) in style last October, beating off a determined challenge by Qatar’s Saleh Al Kaabi over the back nine to eventually triumph by two strokes.
That victory was his second Bahrain Amateur Open title win in two years after he clinched the 2019 edition for his first major triumph.
“Yes, 2022 was a good year for me,” Zayed told the GDN in an exclusive interview. “It felt good to win my second Bahrain Amateur Open title.
“Now, I am focused on doing the best I can to try and win the Bahrain Open. I did reasonably well last year, but a fifth place finish was not what I wanted. I know I can do better than that and win the tournament.”
For Zayed, who remembers going to the golf course as a four-year-old for the first time with his father, the sport is more than a game – it is a way of life.
Since first representing Bahrain at the age of 13, the young golfer achieved steady successes over the next few years in age-level tournaments, securing a second-place finish at the Bahrain Junior Open in 2012 as a 14-year-old and being selected regularly over the next few years for the kingdom’s U16 and U18 teams.
Now a key member of the Bahrain team, Zayed is considered to be among the top amateur golfers in the kingdom with the potential to rise to the very top.
Bahrain Golf Association (BGA) vice president Daij Khalifa told the GDN that he ranked Zayed among the best amateur golfers in the kingdom.
“I classify him as one of the current top four amateur golfers in Bahrain,” Khalifa, who was also the tournament director for last year’s BGA-organised Bahrain Amateur Open, said.
“He won the 2022 Amateur Open for the second time and became a World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR)-rated player. He has already represented Bahrain in regional individual and team events.
Khalifa added that, while Zayed had fulfilled the promise he had shown as a young golfer, there was always room for improvement.
“There are some good Bahraini amateur golfers who, I think, are slightly better than Ahmed at the moment: Khalifa Almerisi, Khalifa Alkaabi and Fahad Alhakam,” Khalifa explained. “I would say all three fall in the same category with Ahmed very close behind.
“Consistency is an issue with our top amateurs which needs to be addressed in order to excel at high levels.”
Meanwhile, Zayed, who represents the Bahrain Golf Club in domestic competitions and said he relishes playing on sand courses more than on grass links, is keyed up for the 58th Bahrain Open, a 36-hole strokeplay competition, open to both professional and amateur players (male and female) and organised by the Awali Golf Club.
“I feel like I am in good nick,” he said. “I felt that my game had improved dramatically last year and I was playing pretty consistently in every competition.
“It’s going to be a tough field to compete in, I know. But I am up for the challenge and, as I said before, I know that I can improve on my fifth-place showing last year and, possibly, go on to win the tournament.”