MENA Tour debutant David Langley won the $75,000 Journey to Jordan No. 1 – the opening event of the 2020 season – after shooting a six-under par 66, at Ayla Golf Club.
The 25-year-old former England international, who turned pro at the end of last season, finished on 11-under for 54 holes – having suffered the heartache of losing his father just two months ago – to win by four.
And Langley immediately dedicated his maiden victory to his widowed mum.
An emotional Langley said “This is dedicated to my mum, who has been like a rock even though we have gone through some very tough times as a family over the past two years, and all my coaches.”
“I am really shell-shocked,” said Langley. “There wasn’t a moment on the golf course when I wasn’t nervous.
“I handled myself very well and was completely focused on each and every shot, but my mind was all over the place in between the shots,” said Langley.
“I won a couple of small events last year, but really, I haven’t won anything for the past three-and-a-half years – even though I felt I have improved a lot as a golfer over that time.”
The man from Marlow in South Buckinghamshire eclipsed England team-mate Tom Sloman, and Hertfordshire’s Jamie Rutherford by four shots.
The Castle Royle member made the turn at three-under par in windy conditions, and repeated that performance on his back nine when the wind dropped as he fired a superb 66 in his third round.
It was his second individual win since Langley graduated from Old Dominion University, having picked up a win in his final event in Virginia in 2017 – ironically shortly after the death of his grandfather, who had introduced David to golf, buying a set of clubs for Christmas when he was eight years old.
Langley also helped Castle Royal win the England Champion Club in 2018 and was a member of the B.B.&O. team that reached the English County Finals that year, winning the Peter Benka Trophy as the leading player at the South East Qualifier, at Orsett GC.
Al Kurdi catches Walker Cup player Sloman to take top Amateur’s prize
JORDAN’S 16-year-old amateur Shergo Al Kurdi carded a final round 69 to match Jamie Rutherford, who ended with a 65, and Somerset’s Walker Cup player Tom Sloman, who shot a 69.
Langley had started the day one shot ahead of the chasing pack and managed to increase the game with some flawless golf as he made five birdies and an eagle.
His only bogey of the day came late on the par-five 13th hole, but he more than made up for that mistake when he holed an exquisite lob wedge shot on the par-five 17th for an eagle.
It was getting slightly frustrating for Al Kurdi as he missed several birdie opportunities in his first 11 holes.
The only gain came on the fifth, and it finally took a bogey on the 11th to wake him up.
The two-time Jordan Open champion then sensationally birdied his next three holes and climbed up fast on the leaderboard.
Shergo said: “A three-under par round is never bad, but it was getting frustrating out there. I must have missed five birdie putts from inside 5-10 feet range.
“But I just kept patient and my dad did a great job on the bag as he kept motivating me and giving me positive thoughts,” .
“I am very proud of what I managed to achieve – runner-up and the best amateur.
“This is also my best finish on the MENA Tour and this gives me so much confidence for the future.
“To do it in Jordan and at Ayla Golf Club, who have been so supportive of me, makes this even more special,” added Al Kurdi.
Rutherford, a former European Tour player from Knebworth Golf Club, rued a four-putt double bogey on the par-three sixth hole and a three-putt par on the par-five 17th hole.
“I thought I could have a chance if I reached 10-under par, and I definitely played well enough to shoot that number,” said Rutherford, who was an England international seven years ago.
The sixth hole was very deflating, but I am happy with the way I bounced back,” said Rutherford, who played alongside fellow Hertfordshire golfer Callum Shinkwin, who is now on the European Tour, when he made his Home Internationals debut for England at Ganton.
In that same team were European Challenge Tour players Ben Stow, from Wiltshire, Northamptonshire’s Ryan Evans, Lancashire’s Paul Howard and Sussex’s Toby Tree.
Sloman, who was in the Great Britain and ireland team that suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of the Americans, at Hoylake, in September, had 20 putts in his first nine holes.
But the Taunton & Puckeridge GC member kept patient and made his move on the back with four birdies.
The Swedish duo of Ake Nilsson and Per Langfors were tied fifth at six-under.
The tour moves to Egypt next week for the Newgiza open at Cairo’s Newgiza Golf Club, which is being held from February 11-13.
•To see the full results from Journey to Jordan No. 1 click here.