From shock call to NSW Open for schoolboy golfer
When Ali Rachid tees off around lunchtime on Thursday he will be kicking off a new phase in his young golfing career.
Rachid will be playing alongside players years older and with far more experience thanks to shocking weather conditions and flooding in Sydney and surrounds over the past week.
The 17-year-old schoolboy from Bardwell Valley near Bexley has been give a late notice invite to the NSW Open after winning the TPS Junior Invitational earlier this month and after pre-qualifying over three courses earlier this week were all cancelled due to the horrendous conditions.
"I was very excited to get the call, I didn't know who they would choose so I was excited to get in. I've never played in a tournament like this before,'' said the Kingsgrove High Year 12 student who won the Brett Ogle Junior Masters when 16 and played in front of a gallery and TV cameras in his most recent win.
"This is all about experience. This is where I want to be in the future because I want to be a pro golfer.''
The NSW Golf Club player started golf "when I was in diapers'' and introduced to the game by his father Moussa.
"I just liked it because it was fun as a kid,'' he said.
"I got a handicap when I was nine and started to practice properly and I started playing better and thought maybe I can be good at it.
"I still love the sport, I like how you are always trying to get better. It tests how mentally tough you are.''
Rachid is scheduled to start his tournament at 12.25pm with Darren Beck (NSW) and Peter Cooke (SA) when the NSW Open tees off at Concord Golf Club on Thursday.
The course was inundated with almost 400mm of rain in the deluge but is playable again.
The NSW Open will see a rare appearance by Brendan James with the early favourite Queenslander Brad Kennedy.
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Originally published as From shock call to NSW Open for schoolboy golfer