Fostock team wins Dirab Golf tourney


RIYADH — Dirab Golf & Country Club looked back to its storied past on a lovely Saturday morning as it celebrated its 25th anniversary with a well attended tournament at the fabled golf course outside of Riyadh in Durma.

A full field of 120 players participated in the four-ball Texas Scramble format competition with a quartet captained by Saudi Samir Fostock winning by countback to lift the champion trophy.

Fostock and his teammates, all Swedish nationals, namely Peter Pruller, Johan Greppe and Magnus Thornvall shot a flawless net score of 59 from a gross of 65 and team handicap of 9.

The team of Sanday Chombe Olweny, Dong Soon Kang, Chan Hwi Lee and Qaiser Hussain had a matching score of 59 (gross 66, 7 handicap) but had to settle for runner-up after the back nine scores tie-break system was applied to break the tie.

The third place went to players from the subcontinent, Maqbool Bhat, Murad Mirza, Omar Iqbal and Mushtaq Bakshi, who tallied a net 60 (69-9).

Starting at No. 4, Fostock’s team could not seem to do anything wrong and had gone four under in their first six holes.

They bogeyed the difficult 10th hole but then made three birdies in succession from No. 12 to go six-under before adding another birdie on 17 to reach seven-under. After a bogey on 18 the winning quartet returned to seven-under with a birdie on the second hole before sealing victory with a par on the third home hole.

Fostock said: “Fantastic putting was key to victory. Magnus made a 25-meter monster putt from just off the fringe for the clinching birdie on No. 2.”

C. H. Lee won the awards for ladies longest drive and nearest to the pin (unisex) while Spence Hawthorn took home the men’s longest drive plum.

Sheikh Mohamed Abunayyan, chair of the Abunayyan Group (formerly Ibrahim Abunayyan Sons Co.), handed out prizes to the winners. He was assisted by Dirab Golf Committee Chairman Tariq Javed.

Also, plaques of appreciation were presented to the sponsors, golf societies and others who supported the club that began in 1993.

Fahad M. Abunayyan, a member of the third-generation landed Abunayyan family that owns the golf course, said golf is the only sport that combines the beauty of nature, the gracefulness of ballet and the mind of chess.

He said: “The story of Dirab golf club and Abunayyan family is the story of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is the transformation from the desert. We are part of the transformation because we were the first to drill the deep wells, water wells that were used for irrigation in all of the Kingdom. We were the pioneers in the water resource engineering system since the time of King Abdulaziz. First of all, we created the water industry and water resource engineering, then after that we expanded in agriculture industry and pioneered the turf grass in Saudi Arabia in joint venture with an American company.

“We supplied grass in all the major clubs in the UAE. We began also the landscape industry in 1984. The idea of a golf course came from my father Mohamed and my uncle Khaled in 1992 — we have the land, the know-how and the allied industry, so for us we are in a win-win situation.

“We began the club for the love of the sport, for the love of golf and not real estate development plan or anything.”

Javed said, “Dirab is a premier golf facility and it gives me great pleasure to greet Dirab on its 25 th anniversary. It’s absolutely one of the great events I’ve seen at Dirab.” — SG