Commercialbank Qatar Masters

Al Kaabi determined to make the cut next year

Saleh Al Kaabi shot a second consecutive four-over-par 76 at the 20th Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, but left encouraged by his performance at Doha Golf Club despite missing the cut.

Making his fifth straight appearance in the European Tour event, Qatar’s top amateur birdied his opening hole at the 10th on Friday before running up a triple bogey at 14. He carded bogeys on holes one and six on his second nine.

Al Kaabi, 22, was more upbeat than on Thursday, as Friday afternoon’s round was played in much windier conditions.

“I hit it well. I made the same score as yesterday, but today was much tougher conditions. It was really windy and there are not too many really low scores,” said Al Kaabi, whose best score in four previous appearances in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters was a second-round 70 in 2014.

“I started well with a birdie on 10 and then had all pars until 14 when I had a triple bogey. I sliced the drive behind a rock, so had to chip sideways. It should have been a bogey or double, but I also missed a short putt. I had just two bad holes, but it was a good experience to play this tournament.”

Al Kaabi entered the tournament high on confidence after finishing third at November’s King Hamad Trophy in Bahrain, winning December’s SGF Open amateur tournament in Saudi Arabia and finishingrunner-up at this month’s Qatar Open Amateur at Doha Golf Club.

He also believes he’s coming closer each year to his quest of becoming the first Qatari to make the cut at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

“I know that I’m competing, especially this year. I can see there’s not a really big difference between my shots and the pros’. All the long shots are basically the same. Only the short game is different. I can learn more about the short game and that changes the score,” Al Kaabi said.

“I still believe I can make the cut here. I’m just going to keep knocking on the door.”

Al Kaabi was one of two Qatari amateurs in the field along with 29-year-old debutant Abdulrahman Al Shahrani (84-86).