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DGRC hosts two major events.

Byline: Arab News

RIYADH: Dirab is not only home to some of the finest golfers in the city, it is also the venue where the local running community stages one of its major events.

On Friday, Dirab Golf and Recreation Center hosted two big events, namely the third edition of the Sanad Charity Half Marathon and the first Mansour Al-Mansour Cup Battle of Champions.

Staged on a course inside the DGRC, the marathon race organized by Riyadh Road Runners attracted avid expatriate and Saudi runners. Riadh Louhaichi finally claimed victory this time after finishing runner-up last year in the open category.

This marathon event is held annually at Dirab Golf Complex as a fund-raising campaign of the Sanad Children's Cancer Support Society Charity. Radisson Riyadh SAS Hotel, Al-Marai, Pepsi Cola, and Gatorade are the sponsors.

Despite the chilly weather there were about 111 runners who answered the starting gun at 7:30 a.m. Lunch catered by Radison SAS Hotel followed the race. Present during the awards ceremony were Dirab Golf Club course owner and Saudi Golf Federation President Khaled Abunayyan, Dirab Golf Club Marketing Manager Andrea Corbett and organizers of the charity run

The Battle of Champions 2008 and 1st Mansour Al-Mansour Cup was held in commemoration of the first death anniversary of a young promising Saudi golfer who died in a road accident along the Riyadh-Makkah expressway while on his way to Dirab Golf Club.

He was a member of the Saudi junior golf team that played in the 28th Pan Arab Golf Championship which Dirab Golf Club hosted early last year. The annual tournament featured players who excelled during the 12 monthly tournaments in 2008.

Heading the list of winners is the lanky 2-handicap American serviceman Mark Duda, who checked in with nines of 38 - 37 for a total gross score of 75 and crowned himself as the Champion of Champions. He took home the coveted trophy and a Callaway stand bag.

Duda, who is soon leaving the Kingdom after the completion of his tour of duty with the US Military Mission, bested Fahad Al-Mansour and M.S. Kim, a Korean taekwondo maestro, who both played in the same group with him and registered a gross score of 80 and 82 respectively.

Duda had a steady performance through the front nine where he dropped only one shot. On the way home, he knocked in two birdies against three bogeys en route to his gross score of 75.

"The weather condition and the fast green suited my game" said the new Champion of Champions.

D. S. Kang, another Korean with a 17 handicap, ruled the Best Net category when he turned in a net score of 70 and took home the trophy and Callaway stand bag. Grabbing second place via the countback was Mohammed Benamar, who tied Ejas Hussain on 72. Hussain settled for third place.

In the Ladies Division, Japanese Mitsuyo Saito shot a hole-in-one at No. 4 on the way to a net score of 68 that gave her the title. Another Japanese golfer, Mami Tsukuda, and a Korean, Chan Hiw Lee, compiled a net score of 76 and 83 respectively to clinch the second and third places.

Mansour Al-Mansour was one of the golf-playing Al-Mansour siblings (the other two are Fahad and Abdulrahman) and was only 18 when he met his untimely death. There were about 21 winners in the 2008 season who qualified in this prestigious event mainly sponsored solely by Dirab Golf Club.

Copyright: Arab News 2009 All rights reserved.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Jan 28, 2009
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