In July 2022, the world’s best golfers will descend on St Andrews, Scotland, to play the 150th Open Championship at the iconic Old Course. Past winners of The Open at St Andrews include greats of the game like Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
The week before the final Major Championship of the year and just a 30 minute drive from the ‘home of golf’ the world’s best under 16 golfers will also have their chance to add their names to a prestigious trophy.
Founded in 1994 and administered by the R&A since 2000 the Junior Open Championship is a biennial event where all golfing nations affiliated to the R&A are invited to enter their best under 16 golfers. Traditionally played at a course near the host venue for The Open this year’s event will be played from the 11th to the 13th of July at the Monifieth Golf Links in Angus, a links course which itself has played host to a number of amateur and professional championships.
Having not been played in 2020 due to the global pandemic the Junior Open Championship was last played in 2018 with South Africa’s Martin Vorster taking the top spot, previous winners of the Junior Open Championship include Masters champion Patrick Reed.
Starting in January a series of qualifying tournaments were used to decide which of Oman’s upcoming golfers would be put forward to represent the Sultanate in 2022. Forming part of the popular GOjuniors series the gross scores for the first three events were combined resulting in National Team player Ayman Al Busaidi claiming the qualification spot over Adam Al Barwani.
Ayman is quoted as saying “I’m so excited to have qualified for the R&A Junior Open, I’ve played in the Oman National Team for all age categories and won gold, silver, and bronze medals against the best players in the region in addition to representing the Men’s National Team at the Pan Arab Championships. However, the R&A Junior Open will definitely be the pinnacle of my golf career so far, as this prestigious event attracts the best under 16 players in the world. It really is an honor to represent Oman and I will do my best to make my country proud. I see the Junior Open as a significant step towards achieving my goal of eventually playing collegiate golf in the United States. I’d like to thank the Oman Golf Association for giving me the opportunity to compete in the Junior Open along with my National Team Coach who has been incredibly supportive throughout my journey”.
As an added bonus all of the competitors in the Junior Open Championship will be hosted by the R&A at St Andrews on the Friday of The Open Championship itself, something that Ayman is very much looking forward to.
Mundhir Al Barwani, Chairman of the Oman Golf Association said “We wish Ayman all the best for the upcoming Junior Open Championship, this is a great opportunity for him to compete against, and also to meet, his counterparts from many other golfing nations as well as having the wonderful experience of visiting The Open at St Andrews. We must thank the R&A for their ongoing support and vision as well as our sponsors Oman LNG, Sohar Aluminium and Moore Stephens and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth for supporting the growth of junior golf in Oman”.
The Oman Golf Association (OGA) is affiliated to, and has a strong working relationship with, the R&A. As well as supporting in country development initiatives for both junior and women’s golf the R&A also recently invited the OGA’s Administration Manager, Fatma Al Hosni, to participate in their Women in Golf Leadership Development Programme where working with other women from around the world Fatma completed an eight month online course exploring the opportunities that exist within the golf industry as well as sharing and addressing some of the challenges faced.