AQABA (Jordan): It promises to be a fascinating battle between David Langley and David Hague in this week’s $75,000 Journey to Jordan #2 as the English duo chase the big reward of a spot in the Trophee Hassan II on the European Tour.
The Order of Merit leader at the end of the first five events on the 2020 MENA Tour by Arena schedule receives an invitation to the Trophee Hassan II, the Euro 2.5 million European Tour event in Morocco from June 4-7. The player will also receive free accommodation in the official hotel for that week.
After the fourth leg of the season, Journey to Jordan #1 champion Langley currently leads the Order of Merit at $24.909, a lead of $784 over Hague ($24,125), winner of the Royal Golf Club Bahrain Open.
The equation is simple. With $400 assured for the last-placed player in the tournament, Hague will have to finish inside a two-way tie for the 12th place to have any chance of overtaking Langley.
Having won at the Greg Norman-designed Ayla Golf Club about a month ago, Langley probably starts as a pre-tournament favourite over Hague, who missed the cut here in his first start as a professional golfer, having opened with a disappointing 81.
However, current form would give the Yorkshireman an advantage. Hague won in Bahrain with three solid rounds in windy conditions, while his 25-year-old rival from Marlow endured a tough final round in the same tournament and recorded a 79.
“Absolutely. The spot in Morocco is on my mind and if someone else in my situation says they are not thinking about it, they’d probably be lying,” said Langley. “But it is not something that is going to control my shots during the tournament. It is something you think outside of it. I will be focused on each shot that I hit when I play the tournament.
“I have very happy memories of this golf course, and obviously, having played it quite a few times, I am very familiar with it. I drove the ball very well and made almost every putt from inside 10 feet when I won the Journey to Jordan #1, and I will have to do pretty much the same again this week.”
Hague, who turned pro after MENA Tour by Arena Qualifying School at the same venue, said he did not touch his clubs after playing the ProAm in Bahrain a day after his victory.
“I got into Aqaba only last night after facing a few travel issues and today was the first day I actually practiced. It’s been a crazy couple of days with so many messages from friends and people I know. I am so looking forward to going back home next week, but I have a job to do before that,” said Hague.
“I won’t say Morocco is my top priority right now. I am pretty good at taking every competition as it comes. It’s just a consequence of playing well and that’s what I’d be focused on this week.
“I did not have a great start to my professional career here, but I am looking forward to competing on this course. I think I was too aggressive here the last time and threw away a few shots through careless mistakes. That’s something I want to avoid.
Langley and Hague have been paired together for the first two rounds and start their campaigns on Monday at 0920 local time (1120 UAE time).