Emirates Golf Club will have a strong South African feeling to it this week when 18 South Africans tee off at the 30th playing of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Louis Oosthuizen will lead the large contingent this week as he looks to continue his superb form. He is yet to finish outside the top seven after three European Tour starts.
After righting the wrongs of his third round collapse in Abu Dhabi with a final round 66, Oosthuizen will look to put four low rounds together as he returns to the the Majilis course. Event form is not something he has in favour, with his best result coming 11 years ago when he finished third.
Three is a number on some minds with Ernie Els in the field this week. No player has more wins at this elite event than the Big Easy, who was victorious here in 1994, 2002 and again in 2005. Joining him this week is nephew Jovan Rebula, who makes a start, courtesy of a sponsor’s invite. Rebula will be looking to put on a show against some of the world’s best as he works his way to Augusta in April.
Another pair to watch this week are also in the field on the back of invites; Asian Tour’s Justin Harding and Japan Tour’s Shaun Norris. The pair enjoyed quiet weeks in Singapore last week and will be looking to make the most of the opportunity.
Last week’s runner-up, Richard Sterne, who starts alongside Brandon Stone at 10:50am on Thursday, is another looking to cement some early season form.
While South Africans fans have plenty of interest this week, there are a number of stars on offer for the neutrals.
Bryson DeChambeau and Tommy Fleetwood arrive as the top-ranked players, with Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton, Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter all adding their Ryder Cup appeal to the field.
Garcia, who won here before winning 2017’s Masters tournament, will be looking to win in Dubai for the second time in three years when he starts in the company of Fleetwood and DeChambeau at 6am.
Stenson, winner here in 2007, and another Ryder Cup winner, Thorbjorn Olesen, tee off at 5:50am in the company of SA’s top-ranked Oosthuizen.
Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello and Eddie Pepperell are also in attendance, and with world rankings under 35 must be considered among the favourites.
Last week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship winner, Shane Lowry, is off at 6:10am with 2018’s prolific winner Matt Wallace, and his countryman Hatton.
You may also like