Teenagers to rub shoulders with big boys at ODDC

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Aden - Yasmin Abdel Azim - youngster Josh Hill. Image Credit: Organisers

Dubai: 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 in 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, who are all set to return to Emirates Golf Club from January 23-26.

Dubai-born Hill rose to prominence back in October when he became the youngest-ever winner of an Official World Golf Ranking event at just 15. Grabbing headlines around the world for his Al Ain Open victory on the Mena Tour, 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.”

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 ever to win the Under-13, U15, U17 and U19 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 US 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. “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.”

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