Rayhan Thomas plays his second shot on the par 5, 10th hole during the first round of the 2017 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.(Getty Images)
Rayhan Thomas plays his second shot on the par 5, 10th hole during the first round of the 2017 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.(Getty Images)

Dubai Desert Classic golf: Rayhan Thomas excels on Day 1, Tiger Woods shoots 77

Rayhan Thomas was the top ranked Indian golfer on Day 1 of the Dubai Desert Classic, while Tiger Woods shot 77.
By Robin Bose | Hindustan Times,
UPDATED ON FEB 02, 2017 08:02 PM IST

The big visage is the perfect camouflage to the child in him, but then Rayhan Thomas makes no effort to hide the simplicity. The broad shoulders and big forearms help in his vocation, and after engaging in golf fitness for a while, the 17-year-old Indian amateur can vouch that it helps.

Like any other wide-eyed enthusiast, Rayhan, whose parents arrived here 23 years ago from Kochi, grew up idolising Tiger Woods on the home computer.

Almost all the memories are of watching the videos of Tiger at the Majors. There was an opportunity to meet him a few years ago, but Rayhan fell short. The setting was the Dubai Desert Classic but the surging numbers prevented Rayhan from getting close. “There were just too many people watching,” he said.

From there to be inside the ropes this week, the feeling is a bit different, as is finding himself up on the leaderboard. At four-under 68, Rayhan was the best-placed Indian on Thursday, three behind Day One leader Sergio Garcia.

That’s one of the aspects of Rayhan growing up into a strapping, young golfer. In the midst of the excitement around him in these parts, he shared the fond remembrance of his first clubs made of plastic.

That wasn’t too long back and a laugh rang out at how soon after he took up the sport his father, John, who was instrumental in his initiation, quit. “It was as if his connect with golf was for a purpose,” said Rayhan.

Tiger Woods tees off on the 7th hole during the first round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. (Getty Images)
Tiger Woods tees off on the 7th hole during the first round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. (Getty Images)

As part of the endeavour to get better, he started competing at the local MENA (Middle East and North Africa) tour, and notched up his first win in a professional event on his home course, Dubai Creek, last year. Coupled with that is teeing up in blue-riband events like the Abu Dhabi Championship and Qatar Masters, and Rayhan is now comfortable competing at the top level.

From attending a clinic by Lee Westwood as a 12-year-old to being named honorary member of the Emirates Golf Club, amid protests that “I’m not a legend yet”, Rayhan’s association with this venue goes back a while, and it showed on Thursday. Followed by a vociferous crowd, he admitted “it helped me ride the momentum with just how much noise they were making, so I couldn’t really play bad”.

Despite being away from the land of his ancestors, there is affinity. Asked if he would single out players for advice this week, Rayhan chose SSP Chawrasia and Anirban Lahiri. “Since you’re from the same country, you gel better,” he said.

Paired with the two, the opening day wasn’t too fruitful as few tips came his way. “They spoke a lot in Hindi which I don’t understand, but I can’t wait to play with them tomorrow (Friday),” he said.

While every bit of exposure to top-flight golf will make him better, it will be a while before Rayhan turns pro. “Not before 2019,” as that’s when he finishes school.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia, January 14, 2018. Tennis balls are pictured in front of the Australian Open logo before the tennis tournament. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia, January 14, 2018. Tennis balls are pictured in front of the Australian Open logo before the tennis tournament. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo(REUTERS)

2 test positive for COVID-19 in Australian Open qualifying

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 12, 2021 08:00 AM IST
Tennis Australia confirmed in a statement there’d been two positive tests at the tournament and both men had been transferred to a government-run medi-hotel, where strict quarantine procedures were in place.
Close
File photo of Tennys Sandgren(REUTERS)
File photo of Tennys Sandgren(REUTERS)

Sandgren allowed to board Australian Open flight despite positive test

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 14, 2021 12:34 PM IST
Sandgren said on Twitter he had tested positive in November and returned another positive test on Monday and might not be able to board the flight, one of 15 carrying players and coaching staff to the first Grand Slam of the year.
Close
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Carabao Cup - Semi Final - Manchester United v Manchester City - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - January 6, 2021 Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks dejected after the match Pool via REUTERS/Peter Powell/File photo(Pool via REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Carabao Cup - Semi Final - Manchester United v Manchester City - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - January 6, 2021 Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks dejected after the match Pool via REUTERS/Peter Powell/File photo(Pool via REUTERS)

Man United and Liverpool to meet in 4th round of FA Cup

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 12, 2021 07:02 AM IST
They are currently the top two in the Premier League. Between them they have won 19 FA Cups.
Close
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA - JANUARY 11: John Isner of the United States serves against Sebastian Korda of the United States.(AFP)
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA - JANUARY 11: John Isner of the United States serves against Sebastian Korda of the United States.(AFP)

Isner says he'll skip Australian Open because of COVID-19

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 12, 2021 07:57 AM IST
Isner, a former top 10 player now ranked 25th, lost to Korda 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Korda and American Christian Harrison each won playing in his first career quarterfinal.
Close
West Ham's manager David Moyes walks on the pitch at the end of the English FA Cup third round soccer match between Stockport County and West Ham United at Edgeley Park in Stockport, England, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. (Martin Rickett/Pool via AP)(AP)
West Ham's manager David Moyes walks on the pitch at the end of the English FA Cup third round soccer match between Stockport County and West Ham United at Edgeley Park in Stockport, England, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. (Martin Rickett/Pool via AP)(AP)

West Ham squeeze past non-league Stockport 1-0 in FA Cup

AP
UPDATED ON JAN 12, 2021 07:00 AM IST
It earned West Ham a home match against third-tier Doncaster in the fourth round.
Close
Photo of Indian badminton player PV Sindhu.(Twitter)
Photo of Indian badminton player PV Sindhu.(Twitter)

India shuttlers look to shake off pandemic blues

UPDATED ON JAN 11, 2021 10:31 PM IST
  • PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth are among players who will feature in the three-leg Asia Series.
Close
File image of Sofia Kenin(AP)
File image of Sofia Kenin(AP)

Kenin and Svitolina lose in Abu Dhabi Open quarterfinals

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 11, 2021 09:59 PM IST
  • Kenin lost to ninth-seeded Maria Sakkari 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 in the quarterfinals. Svitolina lost to unseeded Russian Veronika Kudermetova 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (3).
Close
File photo of Paris St Germain's Neymar(REUTERS)
File photo of Paris St Germain's Neymar(REUTERS)

Back from injury, Neymar resumes training with PSG

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 11, 2021 08:50 PM IST
Neymar has been sidelined since he was taken off on a stretcher in stoppage time on Dec. 13 when PSG lost at home to Lyon 1-0 in the French league.
Close
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju launches the 'Khelo India State Centre of Excellence' at the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune(Khelo India/ Twitter)
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju launches the 'Khelo India State Centre of Excellence' at the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune(Khelo India/ Twitter)

Want to start 1,000 Khelo India centres at district level across India: Rijiju

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 07:04 PM IST
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju pointed out that Maharashtra is the only state in the country to have three centres of excellence.
Close
Japan National Stadium, where the opening ceremony and many other events are planned for Tokyo 2020 Olympics(AP)
Japan National Stadium, where the opening ceremony and many other events are planned for Tokyo 2020 Olympics(AP)

Japan's PM vows Olympics will be proof of victory over virus

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 06:08 PM IST
In a speech opening a new Parliament session, Suga said his government would revise laws to make anti-virus measures enforceable with penalties and compensation.
Close
Representational Image(Twitter)
Representational Image(Twitter)

Bhavesh, Aakanksha win on final day of shooting trials

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 06:06 PM IST
Bhavesh shot 32 in the finals to leave Delhi's Arpit Goel at second on a score of 27. Haryana's Adarsh Singh came in third with 23.
Close
Anirban Lahiri of India(Getty Images)
Anirban Lahiri of India(Getty Images)

Lahiri improves his best at Sony Open in Hawaii with superb 64

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 07:32 PM IST
Starting on the back nine of the Waialae course, Lahiri made good use of the conditions on a day when the scoring was low and it included a 61 by the leader, Steele, and Kevin Na, who shares the second place with Mexican Joaquin Niemann.
Close
Wrestler and politician Babita Phogat and husband, wrestler Vivek Suhag recently became proud parents of a baby boy.
Wrestler and politician Babita Phogat and husband, wrestler Vivek Suhag recently became proud parents of a baby boy.

Babita Phogat on motherhood: Looking forward to learn, unlearn and relearn

PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 03:02 PM IST
Wrestler and politician Babita Phogat says how husband, wrestler Vivek Suhag is on cloud nine and it seems nothing exists for him in the world except for their son.
Close
File image of Max Holloway.(AP Photo/Jose Juarez)
File image of Max Holloway.(AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

UFC: 445 strikes landed in one fight-Holloway is making his hands do the talking

By YASH BHATI
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2021 02:07 PM IST
  • It came to such a stage that the commentators were suggesting for Kattar’s coaches to throw the towel in to save the fighter from further damage.
Close
Nick and Nate Diaz.(Screengrab.)
Nick and Nate Diaz.(Screengrab.)

UFC and its complicated history with marijuana

By YASH BHATI
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2021 01:04 PM IST
  • USADA has announced that it has struck the use of marijuana as a punishable offence. USADA is the anti-doping partner of UFC and has seen several fighters being flagged for its use.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP