By Armstrong Vas
DOHA (Qatar): Andy Sullivan and Aaron Rai lead a galaxy of stars at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters which starts on Thursday (March 11) at the Education City Golf Course.
Besides the duo, five former champions constitute the 144 players who will be looking forward to win the Mother Pearl trophy in the four-day event.
“We have a competitive field of 144 players from Europe, Asia and the United States,” QGA Technical Director Mike Shouriey told www.qatar-masters.com.
The QGA official also added that “some from the top-50 ranked players could not come as the dates clashed with the Players Championship of the PGA Tour in the USA”.
Nuneaton-born Sullivan will be keen to add to the already four European Tour career wins he has against his name. The 34-year-old returned to the winner’s circle after a five-year absence with victory at the 2020 English Championship.
Wolverhampton-born Rai best remembered for his three-way share of the lead with eventual champion Eddie Pepperell and Gregory Havret on the opening day of 2018 edition.
However, he couldn’t cope up with the pressure then, but this time he is back with a lot of confidence.
Rai already has two European Tour titles under his belt and he will be keen to add another here, if luck and form favours him.
The 26-year-old notched up his maiden win at the 2016 Barclays Kenya Open. That particular victory turned out to be a significant one as his Kenya-born mother of Indian descent watched him in action during her first visit to her home country since 47 years.
Defending champion Jorge Campillo along with former winners Justin Harding (2019), Chris Wood (2013) and Alvaro Quiros (2009) are the other golfers who feature in this year’s competition, that will be held under strict health protocol as prescribed by the Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health due the pandemic.
All the players, caddies, officials along with the media production team of the European Tour will be operating from the ‘bio bubble’ before and during the event.