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Crowning glory: What the leading players have to do to become MENA Tour No1s

November 24, 2019
In pole position: MG Keyser is the only player among the professionals with destiny in his own hands

AQABA, November 24: As the MENA Tour by Arena heads back to the wonderful Greg Norman-designed Ayla Golf Course in Aqaba, Jordan, for its season-ending tournament, the $100,000 Journey To Jordan Tour Championship will form the home stretch in determining the MENA Tour No1s in both Professional and Amateur categories.

South Africa’s MG Keyser, winner of the Troon Series Dubai Open presented by Turkish Airlines, leads the Professional Journey To Jordan with earnings of $44,361. Australia’s Daniel Gaunt, making a comeback to competitive golf after giving up professional golf in 2018, is second at $36,474.

Former European Tour star Matthew Baldwin is third at $27,820, followed by England’s James Allan ($27,037) and Frenchman Robin Roussell ($25,190). Baldwin and Roussell, having recently finished their season on the Challenge Tour, have opted not to play this week.

In the Amateur Journey To Jordan, England’s Curtis Knipes is in pole position with 21,662 points, followed by the Dubai-born 15-year-old Josh Hill (19,705). England’s Robin ‘Tiger’ Williams has 19,658 points, but he hasn’t qualified for the Tour Championship having played only three tournaments in the season. Jack Floydd is fourth at 17,540.

With the winner’s cheque worth $18,000 this week and Baldwin not playing, only three players have a chance to be crowned No1 – Keyser, Gaunt and Allan.

On the other hand, fifth-ranked Arjun Gupta of India (4,342 points) also has an outside chance of getting his hands on the Amateur Journey To Jordan crown.

The top-two professionals in the Journey To Jordan at the end of the week, and the top amateur, will get invitations to play the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on the European Tour.  

So, here are the various permutations and combinations for the contenders…

MG KEYSER: A win will seal it, but if Gaunt picks up the trophy on Sunday, the Jumeirah Golf Estates ambassador will have to finish solo second. If Gaunt finishes solo second, Keyser will have to be inside tied fourth with one other player.

DANIEL GAUNT: Even if he wins, Gaunt will have to depend on Keyser finishing outside the top-two.

JAMES ALLAN: Will have to win the tournament, and then hope that Keyser is outside the 38th position and Gaunt doesn’t win or is tied second with one other player.

CURTIS KNIPES: Will become the Journey To Jordan amateur champion if Hill is not inside the top-seven and Floydd inside the top-four.

JOSH HILL: Will have to finish inside the top-7 and then wait for Knipe’s result. If he is seventh, Knipes will have to be outside a tie for 39th place and Floydd outside the top-four.

JACK FLOYDD: Will have to finish inside the top-four to have any chance.

ARJUN GUPTA: Only a win will make it count for Gupta. If he wins, Knipes will have to finish outside the 37th place and Hill outside solo seventh.