Karachi, Pakistan: Muhammad Saqib Tufail and Ahmed Baig will renew their rivalry when the seventh Faldo Series Pakistan Championship tees-off this week.
Two of the brightest young prospects in Pakistani golf, the duo will face-off once more in the 14th leg of the 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season at the historic Karachi Golf Club.
While Tufail is seeking to defend the title he won at Lahore’s Defence Raya Golf & Country Club last year, in-form Baig is aiming to add the Faldo Series Pakistan Championship to his collection of victories.
It promises to be an intriguing tussle in The R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event with challenges also expected from Junaid Irfan, Damil Ataullah and Rafey Raja.
“They’ve all been practicing hard for the Faldo Series Pakistan Championship,” said Salman Abbasi, Manager of the Pakistan Golf Federation, the ruling golfing body in the country.
Now aged 16, Tufail, who has been trained and groomed at Lahore’s Garrison Golf Club, first made his mark on the Faldo Series Pakistan Championship in 2015 when he won the Under-16 category on a countback.
In 2016, aided by a hole-in-one, he claimed the overall title, finishing four shots in front of Baig, who topped the Boys’ Under-18 standings for the second year in a row.
Tufail’s target this week is to secure a third successive appearance at the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, the 12th edition of which will be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam, in March.
At last year’s Grand Final, Baig was the leading Pakistani finisher in equal 48th position on 230, just one stroke in front of Tufail.
Since then, Baig has enjoyed a good run of form, highlighted by victory in both the CNS Open and Punjab Amateur. He was also the leading individual from Pakistan in the 2017 Asia-Pacific Men’s Amateur Team Championship for the Nomura Trophy.
Six-time Major championship winner Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “It’s good to see the progress of young Pakistani players such as Saqid and Ahmed. I thank the Pakistan Golf Federation for their continued support of the Faldo Series Pakistan Championship and their efforts to develop junior golf in the country.”
An affiliate of the Sindh Club in 1888 and registered as an independent club in 1891, the Karachi Golf Club is the eldest golfing establishment in Pakistan. Relocated to its present site in 1953, the venue for the Pakistan Open now boasts three 18-hole layouts within its 217-acre property.
The 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season is supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation. The International Junior Golf Academy is a partner of the Faldo Series.
As well as two events in China, India and Thailand, championships are staged in Australia, Bangladesh, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.