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desert classic

TEENAGE AMATEUR SENSATIONS TO TEE IT UP AT OMEGA DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC

Dubai-born Josh Hill and South Africa’s Jayden Schaper receive invite to compete at Emirates Golf Club from 23-26 January following raft of stellar international displays

Two of international golf’s most promising junior talents – Josh Hill and Jayden Schaper – have been invited to play at the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic next January, where they will compete against some of professional golf’s biggest names.

Recognition of the pair’s amazing amateur achievements, will see them star alongside the likes of defending champion Bryson DeChambeau, in addition to former winners Rafa Cabrera Bello, Sergio Garcia, Haotong Li, Henrik Stenson and Danny Willett, amongst numerous others, who are all set to return to Emirates Golf Club from 23-26 Jan.

Hill, who rose to prominence back in October when he became the youngest-ever winner of an Official World Golf Ranking event at just 15-years old, is born and bred in Dubai. Grabbing headlines around the world for his Al Ain Open victory on the MENA Tour, in which the Englishman closed with a 62 to win by two shots, his appearance in Dubai will be an even grander stage for him to showcase his undoubted talent on home soil.

“I can’t wait to make my European Tour debut and it will be even more special to do it at home in Dubai,” said Hill, who, as an amateur, who had to forego the $13,500 winner’s cheque at the Al Ain event. “I’ve been coming to watch this tournament for years, so to be wandering inside the ropes will be a completely different experience. To have this opportunity so early in my career is amazing and it will be so cool seeing the best players up close. I just hope I’ll be able to give them a good game!”

Similarly, the reputation of Schaper has been on the rise at home in South Africa for several years, but more recently the 18-year old has been garnering international attention, not least as a result of his AJGA Junior Players Championship win on American soil back in September. That followed on from an unprecedented ‘grand slam’ of amateur Nomads titles at home, where he became the first to ever win the under-13, 15, 17 and 19 events. These consistently strong performances have led to Schaper being selected as a member of the International Team for the Junior Presidents Cup Team, in which he competed against the U.S. Team at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Melbourne, Australia.

My game has really come on this year and to receive this invite is another fantastic achievement,” said Schaper, who will hope to one day emulate the success of compatriot Ernie Els, who has won the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic title on three occasions – the most of any player.

“To test my game against some of the best players on the European Tour will be an incredible experience, especially at an event as iconic as this one. South Africans have a good history there and, while I might not be targeting a win, it would be great to see where my game is at and what I need to improve on. I really am already counting down the days.”

Since its inception in 1989, the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic has always prided itself on giving up-and-coming talent a chance to test their game against the best players.

This year will again be no different, as both Hill and Schaper tee it up alongside an eclectic mix of established stars and emerging international talents – including Robert MacIntyre (SCO), the recently crowned European Tour Rookie of the Year, plus Christiaan Bezuidenhout (RSA), Guido Migliozzi (ITA) and Erik Van Rooyen (RSA), in addition to Adri Arnaus (ESP) and Matthias Schwab (AUT).

The OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic has established itself as an incredible platform for identifying talent,” said Simon Corkill, Executive Tournament Director. “Some of the biggest and best players have announced themselves right here in Dubai, whether that be Rory McIlroy winning his first European Tour event at Emirates Golf Club in 2009, Haotong Li overcoming the Northern Irishman to take the title two years ago, or Bryson DeChambeau proving his international credentials back in February. To give both Josh and Jayden this opportunity is both a privilege and our responsibility to provide the next best players with the opportunities they need. We look forward to welcoming them.”

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