One of the brightest young talents currently lighting up the Dubai sporting scene is Indian golfer Rayhan Thomas. At just 18 years of age, the bright talent continues to make a name for himself with every tournament that goes by.
It has been a whirlwind few years for the hot prospect. The former St. Mary's Catholic High School student opted to switch to a home-schooling in 2015 as he went in pursuit of golfing greatness. And it’s fair to say he’s never looked back.
When asked about his introducing to the game, Thomas told The National: ““I began playing around nine years old, and then seriously when I was about 10. My dad used to play and took me once to one of those Golf Houses on Sheikh Zayed Road. They had a little driving range at the back and I enjoyed hitting balls into the net. So my dad got me a plastic set and then a Ping set and it went from there. Then I was hooked.”
And when it comes to role models, Thomas has split loyalties. He commented: “I’ve always looked up to Rory McIlroy. I just like his swing, the way he conducts himself, the way he walks on the golf course. And I’m a big fan of Tiger Woods. To be honest, I like anyone who’s doing well, so I love Jordan Spieth and the way he putts. If I could do that it’d be very good. My iron play’s the strongest part of my game but my putting’s streaky. My dad says to find the inner Jordan Spieth.”
A victory on home turn in the Dubai Creek Men’s Club Championship in 2015, as a 15 year old, put Thomas in the spotlight. He followed that up by winning the Omega Emirates Amateur Open just a week later.
He came the youngest player to ever lead a MENA Tour event later that year, before impressing at the RAK Classic in early 2016. With some valuable support from the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, the success has continued for Thomas. Victory at the Scottish Boys Open and becoming the first amateur winner on the MENA Tour with the Dubai Creek Open title rounded off an incredible 2016.
The achievements have kept rolling in over the last 18 months. The first Indian to reach the US Junior Amateurs semi-finals, a record nine Birdies in a row at the following year’s Dubai Creek Open and playing nine holes with Rory McIlroy rank amongst the highlights. He has also started in the world of golf coaching, delivering clinics at Dubai Creek.
Late in 2017 Thomas committed to Oklahoma State University. It’s the next chapter in a thrilling story so far. GYS wishes Rayhan the best of luck and we look forward to following his progress on the world stage.