By Bernie McGuire, Al Hamra GC, RAK
Dual Jordanian and England golfer Shergo Al Kurdi has created a slice of DP World Tour history becoming the first Middle East golfer to make a halfway cut in the 50-year history of the Tour.
The 18-year-old posted a pair of 68s to be sharing eighth place on eight-under heading to the weekend rounds and just four shots off the lead in the $2m RAK Golf Classic on the Al Hamra course.
Al Kurdi’s father was born in Jordan, with his son growing-up in England but electing to carry dual Jordanian and British citizenship. In fact, his father is out in RAK supporting his son this week.
He began playing golf at age five at the Windlesham Golf Club, in Surrey and one of his first wins was on the Nike Rookie Tour winning an Under-12 competition. By age 15, he was playing off scratch.
“I played in the Arab Championships U15 and U18 twice and I won the U15 Championship on the second occasion by 14 strokes,” he said in an interview with Worldwide Golf.
“After that I went to the U18 events when I was 14 because the aim for me then was to get into the World Amateur Golf Ranking and in order to do that I had to win the U18 Arab Championship, which I did when I was 15. Then the next year I won it again in Morocco and it was only a matter of time before the Arab region started recognising me and the amount of support that they have given me since then is unbelievable. I’ve also played in the Saudi International twice and I qualified for the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic by winning the MENA Tour Amateur Order of Merit.”
Al Kurdi made his European Tour debut in accepting an invitation at the age of just 14, to compete at the 2018 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. He recalls that first round by remarkably posting on one-over 73 that included just 21 putts, and thanks to two chip-ins and one-putting four holes but then missed the cut with a second day 80.
Since then, and before this week’s event in RAK, he’s played in six other DP World events and the 2019 Jordanian Mixed Open on the secondary Challenge Tour. However, this week will be a historic first four-rounder.
Among his famous memories was playing golf with Swedish star Suzann Pettersen while he’s got a great picture when meeting Bryson DeChambeau at the Dubai Desert Classic.
While SKY Sports Golf’s Ewen Murray has been a mentor, he’s now coached by top Scottish coach Davy Burns who coaches top-ranked fellow Scot Robert MacIntyre. In fact, Burns was at the Saudi International last week coaching Al Kurdi, who received an invitation to compete in his maiden Asian Tour event.
Though Burns now finds himself in a coaching predicament with two players he coaches out in the same group on day three of the RAK Golf Classic.
Burns was working with Al Kurdi at last week’s Asian Tour Saudi International and caught MacIntyre somewhat by surprise, turning up at Al Hamra to work with his teenage sensation.
So, after MacIntyre’s struggling second round 70 and Al Kurdi’s second straight 68, the pair find themselves in the same three-ball heading into round three, and with Swede Alexander Bjork making-up the threesome.
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