AJMAN — Maintaining his sublime form, Henric Sturehed smoked the field with a massive nine-shot victory at the MENA Tour Championship as England’s Jamie Elson wrapped up the Order of Merit title at Al Zorah Golf Club on Thursday.
A good seven shots in front overnight, Sturehed, who shot a course-record 63 in second round, closed with a 69 to reach 21 under for the tournament, leaving the rest of the field trailing in his wake for his maiden win on the MENA Tour that propelled him to second position on the Order of Merit.
Jake Shepherd, a two-time winner on the tour, went bogey-free in his final-round six-under 66 to finish a creditable second at 12-under, two clear of fellow Englishman Andrew Marshall and Adam Sagar.
Jamie Elson returned a level-par 72 to join fellow Englishmen Joe Heraty and Luke Joy in a three-way tie for fifth on nine-under 279 and that was good enough for him to seal the prestigious Order of Merit title ahead of Sturehed.
England’s Todd Clements, five under through 14, signed for a 68 to win the amateur division on five-under 283 for the sixth time in a row, a virtuoso effort that crowned him the leading amateur of the MENA Tour with Sam Hobday finishing second.
It was a dominant performance all week from Sturehed, going almost unchallenged for his fifth professional win since joining the paid ranks in 2012.
“Absolutely delighted with my first win on the MENA Tour. It was nice to string together all four rounds under par and finally get the job done after being in contention for a couple of times,” Sturehed said after receiving the winner’s trophy from Salim Fleyfal, Business Development Manager at Al Zorah.
MENA Tour patron Darren Clarke, chairman Mohamed Juma Buamaim, Mark Chapleski, president of Troon International Division, and Phillip Henderson, General Manager, Al Zorah Golf Club, were also present.
“I felt really comfortable out there, like I was in control of my game. It was my first season on the MENA Tour and I really enjoyed the whole experience. There are many good players out there and it was fun competing with them.
“I have made many new good friends and hope to return next year to join in the fun,” said the 27-year-old who became the fourth Swede after Per Barth, Christofer Blomstrand and Fredrik From to win a MENA Tour event.
Meanwhile, England’s Ben Amor, tied for 28th overnight at two-over, fired a sizzling 64 to make the biggest move in the final round, finishing tied eighth on six-under. Nine birdies and a bogey highlighted his day’s best round.
The top three professionals on the Order of Merit and the leading amateur will be invited to compete in the 2018 Omega Dubai Desert Classic in addition to earning full playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour and exemptions into the Final Stage of the Asian Tour Q-School.
Players, ranked between six and 15, will be also be exempt into the final stage of the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School as the MENA Tour aimed at creating meaningful playing opportunities for its members knocking on the doors of stardom.
An initiative of the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, the MENA Tour was created in 2011 with the aim of developing golf in the region. It is affiliated to R&A, the worldwide golf governing body based in the home of golf, St Andrews, and the Arab Golf Federation and enjoys the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status.
Leading MENA Tour Championship scores:
Henric Sturehed (Sweden) 21-under
Jake Shepherd (England) 12-under
Adam Sagar (England) 10-under
Andrew Marshall (England) 10-under
Todd Clements (England) five-under
Order of Merit standings:
Jamie Elson (England) 36,677 points
Henric Sturehed (Sweden) 32,371
Luke Joy (England) 32,250
Todd Clements (England) 360 points