(MENAFN - Jordan Times) AMMAN — UK-born Shergo Kurdi currently sits tied for 21st place as he represents Jordan at the 2019 MENA Tour's first stop in Aqaba.
The 15-year-old amateur golfer will have until Monday to use his home-field knowledge to close in on his goal of finishing in the top 10 or 15. The young Kurdi is a member of the tournament's host venue — Ayla Golf Club — and made the cut there during the 2017 tour, but finished the tournament tied for 38th.
The aspiring pro became the first Jordanian in 27 years to win the Jordan Open last year and then went on to become the first golfer from the Kingdom to make the cut at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Singapore. He has also won two Faldo Series events in the UK, according to a statement sent by tournament organisers.
Despite his young age, Kurdi has made five starts on the MENA Tour, with his best performance coming during the 2017 tie in Aqaba.
His rise in golfing was recently acknowledged when he was invited to play in the Saudi International at the King Abdullah Economic City. The Jordanian started the European Tour event with three birdies on his first four holes, but eventually failed to make the cut.
However, the tournament in Aqaba offers Kurdi a chance to represent his country while traversing a course he is fairly familiar with, hugged by the Red Sea on one side and the foothills of the Shara Mountains on the other.
'It's got two defences — wind and bunkers. But even with big gusting winds, you can still use the slopes and undulations here and score well. And the bunkers… well, you better stay out of them,' said Kurdi. 'I am hoping for a top-15 or a top-10 finish this week. If I can get that, it would be a good experience.'
The Jordanian is based in the UK, but said the weather in the sport's home country is not always cooperative, while 'one thing I can always be assured of at Ayla is that the weather is going to be great... I can practice as much as I want here'.
Kurdi also expressed pride in what he said is a growing Jordanian golf scene: 'We have got a few kids here who are getting better with each trip I make, and that makes me very happy. There is Abdullah and Rayyan Hassan and a couple [of] other kids who are very interested in the game and it is good to see these youngsters take golf so seriously. In a place where they did not know about golf less than a couple of years ago, it is fantastic to see these young kids coming up.'
The MENA Tour by Arena has 10 tournaments scheduled for 2019 and provides Official World Golf Ranking points to players, according to the statement, which makes it a fitting place for a young golfer like Kurdi to continue his ambitions towards bigger tours.
'There is a bit of pressure considering that I am playing in Jordan. The expectations are more. But having said that, I love representing my country and I consider it a privilege flying the Jordanian flag here this week,' he said in the statement.