Tuleubayev made a huge first impression on the Kazakhstan Open in 2009 when, as a ten year old, he was part of the winning Pro-Am team at the Challenge Tour ‘Major’ and he raised eyebrows once more this year when he teed it up in the regular tournament.His is a story which epitomises what this tournament is all about for the people who eight years ago broke new boundaries by taking the European Challenge Tour to uncharted territories in Central Asia.
The confident young Kazakh does much of his practice in the USA under the tutelage of Harmon - who is reputedly extremely upbeat about the progress which has seen him rise to become the number one in the International Junior Golf Tour’s under-14 Rankings.Also an extremely talented chess player, Tuleubayev is determined to become Kazakhstan’s first prominent golfer on the world stage and says that golf is on a sharp rise in his home country.
“I started playing golf when I just turned eight,” he said. “It’s been quite a rise since then. I have been making good progress and I’m really happy right now but I can’t stop, I have to continue and try getting better.“I would be happy to be the first person from Kazakhstan (to compete on the world stage in golf). The golf here is improving rapidly so we have a lot more kids playing and the new generation is really getting better so I’m really happy about how golf is in Kazakhstan at the moment.”
Much of that is down to Konstantin Lifanov, who is one of the founders of Kazakh golf and has been a mentor to Tuleubayev, and the 13 year old is ecstatic that he has been handed the chance of playing alongside a top Challenge Tour field at his local club.
“Konstantin was my first coach and he taught me almost all of things I know about golf now,” he said. “I played with Andrew McArthur in the Pro-Am in 2009 and I was so happy with that day but now I'm playing in the actual tournament, how awesome is that!“There are so many pros here and this club is the closest to my house and I practice here a lot so seeing these pros here is pretty cool. To practice near them, it’s just like, wow, these guys are incredible.