Yas aims for asian tour climb after shrugging off "mystery" illness

Yas aims for asian tour climb after shrugging off "mystery" illness

09.04.2007: Yas aims for asian tour climb after shrugging off "mystery" illness

Dubai-based golfer gets new drive from Hertz as he sets out to revitalise season

Yasin Ali: "My season starts this weekend in China."

Dubai-based golfer Yasin Ali is hoping a clean bill of health, a change of putter, and a sponsorship boost from Hertz can combine to launch his climb up the Asian Tour Order of Merit starting in China this weekend.

The 25-year-old Kenyan-born player is aiming for a top 15 spot on the final money list after shrugging off a severe case of viral fever which threatened to destroy his season.

Before setting off for the US$2 million Volvo China Open starting in Shanghai on Thursday, he said: "It’s been a tough start to year, but that’s in the past and I’m taking the approach that my season starts this weekend in China.

"I’m feeling fit again and pretty confident. I’m aiming to get into the top 15 in the Order of Merit, and I think that’s a possibility after I finished 32nd last year by playing in only 17 events."

Yas, as he is known by friends and fellow golfers, has completed his recovery from viral fever in Dubai where he has just signed a sponsorship agreement with Hertz UAE.

"Yas is known as one of the brightest prospects in Asian golf, and we’re very happy to be playing our part in supporting him at an important stage in his career," said Bob Farrow, General Manager of Hertz UAE.

He suffered one of the most difficult spells of his career after being struck down by a mystery illness during the Malaysian Open in February which left him physically exhausted for weeks.

One doctor told him he had picked up an infection as an after effect of floods in Malaysia while another said he had a bone marrow problem. The illness was later identified as viral fever, and Yas finally shrugged it off after a complete rest in Dubai in between tournaments.

Despite missing the cut at last month’s Johnnie Walker Classic in Phuket and the Singapore Masters, he produced his best golf of the year in the recent Motorola International in Indonesia.

Well placed on 6 under par after three rounds, he was eyeing his first top-ten finish of the season before three double bogeys saw him slip to a final round 78 which leaves him 95th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

"I tried to do just a little too much, but you live and learn" he admitted. "Now I’m trying to take things a little easier, and I’m keen to improve my putting average because I haven’t been holing a lot. I’ve gone back to the putter I used last year, and I’m hoping for better results with four tournaments in a row ahead in China and Korea."

Yas moved with his parents from Kenya to Britain in the mid 80s. Of Indian heritage, his father, Zulfikar Ali, had captained the Kenyan Cricket team and he introduced his son to golf.

In 1998 Yas captured the prestigious McGregor Trophy, whose previous winners had included two British major winners, Faldo and Sandy Lyle. Faldo spotted Yas’ talent when he won a qualifier in one of his junior events. In 2000 he teamed up with Nick Dougherty to help England take third place in the World Boys Championship.

The following year Yas decided to further his golf education in the US at Oklahoma City University. He won five individual tournaments and made the Hogan Award List for America’s Top 20 college golfers. In 2003 he turned professional and moved to Dubai.  

 

- Tony Lewis, Total Communications Dubai, also photo -

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09.04.2007 / MaP

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