ALL the days of self-doubting are over for Yorkshire’s David Hague as he put together a brilliant back nine to secure his maiden professional win at the Royal Golf Club Bahrain Open – in only his fourth start in the paid ranks.
The 24-year-old, from Malton and Norton Golf Club, who rose to No. 76 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking before turning pro in January, shot a one-under par 71 on another windy day.
Hague’s nine-under par total after 54 holes proved to be one better than France’s former European Tour star Victor Riu, who shot 70, and earned the former England Amateur international the first prize of $13,500.
“This is amazing and very satisfying,” said David Hague. “I have been thinking of turning professional for more than a year now – and always had my doubts about it.
“I felt I was on a good run when I played the MENA Tour Qualifying School, and thought it was a good time to make the decision. This win definitely validates it,” added Hague.
“I drove consistently well this whole week and that really was the key to my winning. I struggled with my putter from inside six feet and made several three-putts – something I need to work on.
“When I was trailing at the turn, I knew I needed to be patient because the back nine of this golf course has been pretty good to me.
“And yes, that birdie on the 15th was a key moment for me.”
Hague, who finished runner-up at the NewGiza Open in Cairo, earlier this month, started the final round as leader by one shot.
But last year’s Lee Westwood Trophy winner was trailing at the turn after making a double bogey on the seventh hole.
An eagle on the par-five ninth hole, saw Surrey-based Ryan Lumsden, who qualified to play as an amateur in the US Open at Shinnecock Hills, in 2018, surge ahead.
At that stage, Hague was seven-under with the Royal Wimbledon player – who studied at Chicago’s Northwestern University, the same college NCAA champion Luke Donald attended – playing a group ahead.
But the champion made three birdies on the back nine as against a solitary bogey on the 12th hole, including a crucial one on the par-four 15th hole, which was playing very tough into the headwind.
It was a two-shot swing against both Scottish amateur international Lumsden and Riu, his closest rivals, who dropped shots on the same hole with the Scot carding a 71.
Fellow Scot Callum Fyfe (70) joined Lumsden in a tie for third at seven-under, alongside Hague’s former Yorkshire team-mate Ben Hutchinson (67) and Sweden’s European Tour player Henric Sturehed (68).
The latter two returned the best cards on a day when players had to battle through occasional drizzle and steady high wind at the Colin Montgomerie-designed Royal Golf Club.
Al Sharif: I’ll learn from experience
The member of the Saudi national team and host club slipped down the leaderboard with an 81 in his first experience of playing in the leading group in a pro event.
However, his two-over par total was still good enough to win him the low amateur prize.
Al Sharif was disappointed with his round, but not disheartened with his effort.
“It was a tough day on the golf course, but I wanted to do better than what I did,” said the 19-year-old who finished in a share of 18th place.
“However, this is my first time in a situation like this and I am sure I have learned a lot on how to handle things in the future.
“This experience will make me a better player,” added Al Sharif.
The MENA Tour travels to Aqaba, Jordan, for the $75,000 Journey to Jordan No. 2 next week.
•For final results in the Bahrain Open click here.