A five-shot afternoon wind at Royal Greens Country Club made things considerably more difficult for the later tee times during the first round of the Saudi International. Othman Almulla, Saudi Arabia’s No. 1 ranked player was at three-under at one point – he finished at one-over. However, he goes off at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow and conditions should be more serene.
Almulla took questions after his opening round 71 and listening to him – he’s appreciative for the opportunity to chase his golf dreams.
“I said this year was going to be different. I started to get the hang of things last year and then Covid hit. I took a step back and thought how great of an opportunity I have to represent the Kingdom and fly the flag around,” he says.
Almulla didn’t start playing the game till he was 15. He learned the game on a sand golf course – a real tee-to-green sand golf course where you carry an AstroTurf mat around to play your shots, but again he’s gracious, “It was an unbelievable experience, and then I qualified for the Dubai Desert Classic in 2007, I was cloud nine and I said this is what I want to do.”
Home is in eastern Saudi Arabia, but Royal Greens feels like home. It’s a golf course he’s quite familiar with and he’s quick to say that Royal Greens is the best golf course in the country. A Jack Nicklaus-design is currently in the works — golf in Saudi Arabia is coming along.
“This [Royal Greens] is like my second home club. They’ve been super supportive of my career and they let me practice,” he adds.
There’s nothing better than a good local story and a lot of folks are pulling for Almulla – everyone in the Kingdom and a lot of folks in the media center too.
“I just need to keep doing what I’m doing. I like where my game’s at. It’s such a privilege – I’m just going to enjoy it.”
Almulla goes off the 10th tee tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. and is playing with Jayden Schaper of South Africa and from Oliver Fisher from England.
Full conversation below.