Lin Yuxin at the ACC defending champion
Image Credit: AFP
It’s destination Dubai for the prestigious Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (ACC) after the Emirates Golf Federation (EGF) won hosting rights to the delayed 12th edition of the elite amateur event.
The news was confirmed earlier today when the Masters Tournament, R&A and Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation announced the tournament would be held from November 3-6 at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club.
The 2020 AAC, which was due to be played at Royal Melbourne in Australia last year, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will now be held in the UAE for the first time and will join the numerous professional and amateur events Dubai hosts annually, including the European Tour’s OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic and DP World Tour Championship.
Created in 2009, the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship was established to further develop amateur golf in the Asia-Pacific region. The champion receives an invitation to compete in the Masters and The Open, while the runner(s)-up gain a place in final qualifying for The Open.
Taimur Hassan Amin, Chairman of the APGC, Fred Ridley, Chairman of the Masters Tournament, and Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said in a joint statement: “This year’s historic win at the Masters by Hideki Matsuyama, a two-time Asia-Pacific Amateur champion, underscored the importance of this event as a platform for the game’s development and rising talent in the region. We are grateful for the support of the Emirates Golf Federation and Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, and we are committed to working closely with all involved to stage this year’s championship with responsible protocols in place so we can provide this life-changing opportunity safely to these deserving players.
“Dubai Creek’s Championship Course will enhance the tradition of world-class venues that have hosted this championship, and we look forward to showcasing the Asia-Pacific’s top-ranked amateurs this fall.”
Opened in 1993, Dubai Creek’s Championship Course features an 18-hole, par-71 layout originally designed by Karl Litten before its redesign in 2004 led by Thomas Bjorn. The course has previously hosted the 1999 and 2000 Dubai Desert Classic and the Mena Tour’s Dubai Creek Open, where 2018 AAC runner-up Rayhan Thomas shot a course-record 61 in 2017.
Most recently, Dubai Creek hosted The Dubai Championship on the World Amateur Tour last December.
“After being part of the AAC for many years as a member of the APGC, we are excited to welcome this prestigious championship to the UAE for the first time,” said Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of EGF. “This opportunity means a great deal to the Asia-Pacific’s many talented amateurs. We are honoured to support the APGC, the Masters Tournament and The R&A in their efforts to conduct a safe event and advance our shared mission of spurring golf’s growth and development.”
Chris May, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Golf, added: “The AAC annually brings together the leading amateurs from across the region, and the world, and we are proud to be selected by the Founding Partners as the host of this year’s event. Our Championship Course will present both a challenging and inspiring test for the players, and we look forward to highlighting their talent and contributing to the AAC’s impact on the game.”
This tournament always has an interest from the UAE, with Rayhan Thomas finishing tied second in the tournament in 2018 when it was hosted at Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore. The winner of the 2018 edition was Japan’s Takumi Kanaya.
Thomas, a talented golfer from Dubai, is currently at Oklahoma State University on a golf scholarship. Rayhan, who was born to Indian parents in the UAE, dominated the local amateur golf events during his time here and became the first amateur winner on the Mena Tour when he clinched the 2016 Dubai Creek Open title at the age of 16. Thomas shot rounds of 74, 64, 65 and 66 to finish just two shots behind Kanaya in the 2018 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.