(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Champion golfers from Bahrain, Nasser Yaqoub and Hamad Mubarak, who are in Muscat for the 17th GCC Golf Championship that begins at the Almouj Golf Course on Sunday, have predicted a tough contest. Yaqoub and Mubarak, who have both taken part in the previous 16 editions of the competition, are the main contenders for the title in the seniors category of the competition that will be played over three days following Saturday's opening ceremony and official practice round.
Speaking to Muscat Daily on Friday, Yaqoub said, ''This is a fantastic golf course. Some of the holes (rounds) here will be really tough. I have been in Oman before, I have played at Muscat Hills. This is my first visit to Almouj. With my experience, and with the kind of participants who are here, I can say it will be a tough competition here.'' Yaqoub has been crowned best individual performer on eight occasions in the competition's history, while Mubarak has finished on top on four occasions.
Mubarak observed that interest in golf in the GCC region is picking up quite fast and courses like the one at Almouj will support the drive to popularise the sport in Oman and the neighbouring countries. Mubarak said, ''Golf in Oman is growing fast and there are some really beautiful courses here. As far as this GCC Championship is concerned, it is becoming bigger and bigger every year.'' The Bahraini duo singled out Oman's Azaan al Rumhy and Hamad al Rumhy as two of the best golfers in the sultanate. The tournament is being hosted by Golf Oman under the auspices of the Ministry of Sports Affairs.
The competition will feature senior and junior categories. The other participating nations are defending champion UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Ahmed al Jahdhamy, the vice-chairman of Golf Oman, said, ''The sultanate is ready to host the competition and the golfers are happy with the course. I am sure they will enjoy playing here as Oman hosts this tournament for the first time."