February 2, 2017: Amateur Rayhan Thomas fired an opening 68 on day one of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and then declared he had “as much confidence as the best player in the world”.
The Dubai-based 17 year old is a member at Emirates Golf Club and he made all his local knowledge count in just his third European Tour event to sit three shots behind first-round leader Sergio Garcia.
Rayhan Thomas was a picture of confidence
Playing alongside fellow Indians Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia, he made six birdies and two bogeys, the highlight of his round being a chip-in on the fifth that sent a sizeable following gallery wild.
Despite his tender years, Thomas took it all in his stride and revealed he was not surprised by his success.
“It was just awesome,” he said. “I think the spectators today were just unbelievable. They helped me ride the momentum all day and the course is in fabulous shape and with a little course knowledge, it’s come together.
“I’ve been a member here the past three years and I’ve played the course quite a bit and I know it like the back of my hand. It helped with the greens a lot with the grain and just knowing where if I miss one, it’s an okay spot to miss.
I have as much confidence as the best player in the world, that’s for sure. I don’t show it but I do. So I’m not too surprised – Rayhan Thomas
“You have to play well. You can know a course as well as you can but if you don’t hit the shots, you’re not going to score. I hit a lot of good shots.
“I have as much confidence as the best player in the world, that’s for sure. I don’t show it but I do. So I’m not too surprised.
“The group was perfect. I think for my first round for the Desert Classic, I think that group was perfect, just two really great guys. I’m glad I played with them this week.”