Christmas will come early for members of the MENA Tour by Arena after rich rewards in the form of playing opportunities on various established Tours and tournaments were lined up for those performing well in the Autumn Schedule.
The region’s only recognized golf tour, which offers Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points for every tournament, will resume with the $100,000 Journey to Jordan-2 at the stunning Ayla Golf Club in Aqaba, Jordan, from September 29.
While the overall professional Journey to Jordan (Order of Merit) champion, the second-placed professional and the Leading Amateur have already been assured of a start in the 2020 Omega Dubai Desert Classic (to be played at Emirates Golf Club in Dubai from January 23-26), the MENA Tour announced a fourth ODDC spot for a member who leads the ‘Final Five’ – a separate Money List starting from the Journey To Jordan-2 and finishing with the Journey to Jordan Final, which will also be hosted by Ayla Golf Club (November 24-28).
Apart from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, members can also vie to win the ‘Penultimate Four’ – another separate Money List comprising of the first four events on the Autumn Schedule – the Journey to Jordan-2, the Abu Dhabi Open by Arena, the Al Ain Open by Arena and the Ras Al Khaimah Open by Arena.
The member who tops the ‘Penultimate Four’ will receive invites to two full-field events on the Asian Tour – the Thailand Open (Nov 7-10) and the Panasonic Open India (Nov 14-17).
Apart from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic start on the European Tour, the overall Journey to Jordan champion will also receive invites to the Made in Denmark (European Tour) and the Diamond Cup (co-sanctioned by Japan Golf Tour Organization and the Asian Tour) in 2020.
The overall runner-up will be invited to two leading Asian Tour events – the 2020 Bank BRI Indonesian Open and the season-ending Indonesian Masters (Dec 12-15).
The player finishing third in the overall Journey to Jordan will receive invites to two European Challenge Tour events. The fourth-placed player will be invited to two Asian Tour tournaments, while the fifth-placed player will be assured of a European Challenge Tour invitation.
“After regular discussions with our members, we have realized there is a strong desire and ambition in them to be able to play on higher profile tours. Every player on the development tours is looking for these opportunities. I think with the unveiling of these invitations, we have been able to present a very impressive array of rewards for our members,” said David Spencer, Strategic Advisor to the MENA Tour by Arena.
“In the early part of the season, we had quite a few Challenge Tour members playing our tournaments and players like Matthew Baldwin, Robin Roussel and MG Keyser have already won tournaments on the 2019 MENA Tour. However, they will be busy with their own schedules during the next few weeks and we decided to create the ‘Penultimate Four’ and the ‘Final Five’ to provide an added incentive to our members who are playing a full MENA Tour schedule.”
The MENA Tour by Arena is returning to the world schedule after a year of restructuring and features 10 tournaments in 2019. It will continue to provide OWGR points, thus making it a perfect pathway for ambitious young professionals to the bigger tours and for the players from the region to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The first half of the 2019 season, comprising five tournaments and the Qualifying School, was held in February and March this year.
A historic moment for the Tour came at the 148th Open Championship in Royal Portrush earlier this year when Baldwin, the Leading Professional in the Journey to Jordan, and Curtis Knipes, the Leading Amateur, both qualified for the final major championship of the year.
MENA TOUR – AUTUMN SCHEDULE
|Sep 29-Oct 2||Journey to Jordan-2||Ayla Golf Club, Aqaba, Jordan||$100,000|
|Oct 6-9||Abu Dhabi Open by Arena||Yas Links Abu Dhabi||$75,000|
|Oct 20-24||Al Ain Open by Arena||Al Ain ESG, Al Ain||$75,000|
|Oct 27-31||Ras Al Khaimah Open by Arena||Tower Links GC, Ras Al Khaimah||$75,000|
|Nov 24-28||Journey to Jordan Tour Championship||Ayla Golf Club, Aqaba, Jordan||$100,000|