Haydn Porteous was on cloud nine this time last year, having backed up his Joburg Open victory with a share of eighth place at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
This week he returns to Emirates Golf Club in a different space after missing the cut in his last three starts.
The 22 year old will draw on memories of shooting 66 in both the second and third rounds last year, which helped him secure a top-10 placing, five shots behind winner Danny Willett.
Porteous wrapped up the 2016 Race to Dubai with a Sunday round of 66 at Turkish Airlines Open, but failed to make the weekend since then.
Veteran Trevor Immelman wants to rediscover his form in the desert this week, joined by European stalwarts George Coetzee and Thomas Aiken.
Tiger Woods is also teeing up at Emirates Golf Club this week, marking his return to the European Tour for the first time since 2015. Woods won the tournament in both 2006 and 2008 and is competing for the eighth time this week.
The tournament has an impressive history that dates back to 1989 and since then Ernie Els has won three times. The Big Easy is not in the field this week, but Jaco van Zyl will be looking to emulate his countryman by lifting the trophy.
Last week Van Zyl three-putted on the first extra hole of a playoff for the Qatar Masters and handed the title to Korea’s Jeunghun Wang.
The South African dusted himself off and was eager to keep the good form coming.
‘It’s a good start to the season, and a little bit more fireworks, so hopefully it continues,’ he said.
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