Jordan vs Meronk: Two-way fight for CBQ Qatar Masters crown

Doha: England’s Matthew Jordan and Poland’s Adrian Meronk share the lead on Sunday morning at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at the Doha Golf Club course.

If the Polish triumphs here, he would become his country’s first golfer in the history of the DP World Tour to win a title.

While Jordan can lift his first DP World Tour victory in his 61st appearance, if he keeps the balance and momentum.

Chris Wood (2013) and Eddie Pepperell (2018) were the two Englishmen who had won the Qatar Masters in the past.

Finland’s Kalle Samooja was a stroke behind after shooting 6-under 66 on Saturday.

Jordan (70) and Meronk (72) had 54-hole totals of 8-under 208 as both search for their first European tour win.

The 282nd-ranked Jordan had a front-nine 39 but recovered with five birdies on the back nine in an overall “stressful” round.

Pablo Larrazábal (75), leader on the first two days, slipped two shots back in a three-way tie for fourth on Saturday with fellow Spaniard Adrian Otaegui (70) and South Africa’s Wilco Nienaber (74).

Larrazabal struggles to maintain lead on Day 2

Doha: Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal had an eagle and three birdies on the back nine as he overcame an unimpressive start on Friday at the 25th Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

“It was a tough start. I didn’t expect the drive on the first to go so far right,” said Larrazabal. “It is even harder mentally when you shoot 40 on the front nine and you’re two over after three.”

Chase Hanna (66), Wilco Nienaber (68) and Adrian Meronk (70) were all one shot behind in a tie for second.

The 122nd-ranked Larrazabal, seeking his seventh DP World Tour title, shot 1-under 71 at Doha Golf Club for a 36-hole total of 9-under 135 to take a one-shot lead into the weekend.

It was a roller coaster day for the Spaniard. In the morning, when he finished hole 9, he was +4 and had fallen to 20th place.

“It was a tough start. Par-bogey-bogey was not in the plans,” said Larrazabal, who added double bogey on the par-5 ninth to complete a front-nine 40 that left him four strokes back after starting the day two shots in front.

He bounced back with an eagle at the par-5 10th before three more birdies, including the 18th.

“Mentally, you have to recover. You have to believe in the shots you plan … that’s what I did and it paid off,” said the 38-year-old, who won Pecanwood Classic in South Africa two weeks ago.

American golfer Hanna felt right at home in the windy conditions.

“Growing up in Kansas, you get a lot of wind,” the 27-year-old said. “I certainly like the wind. I feel like my game suits the wind nicely. … My iron shots were good especially on the par 3s, just kept it pretty stress free.”

Romain Langasque (71) is two strokes off the lead. Marcus Kinhult of Sweden had the lowest round with 65.

Spain’s Larrazabal shoots 64, leads by two after first round

Doha: Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal opened up a two-stroke lead after the first round at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters here at the lush green Doha Golf Club course on Thursday.

India’s Shubhankar Sharma, Denmark’s Marcus Helligkilde, Romain Langasque (France) and Adrian Meronk (Poland) were all two shots behind in a tie for second.

The highly-anticipated DP Tour event returned to its original home after the last two editions, which were held at the Education City Golf Club.

The competition is organised by Qatar Golf Association (QGA) with support from Qatar Olympic Committee, Doha Golf Club and long-term title sponsor, Commercial Bank.

“I’m very pleased. I played very solid. I missed only a couple of shots. I did an up and down there on the last green which I missed. I missed the cut last week but I played very solid golf today,” said the 38-year-old.

The tournament, which is celebrating its 25th year, features Thorbjorn Olesen, Ashun Wu and past champions Chris Wood, Jorge Campillo, Simon Rozner, Justin Harding and Eddie Pepperwell.

With the temperature soared to plus-30 degree celsius at Doha Golf Club, Larrazábal birdied his first three holes and had nine total for an 8-under 64. The 122nd-ranked player dropped only one shot, on the par-4 fifth hole.

The temperature was nice this morning but it started boiling,” he added. “It was 35 or 36 degrees, but I kept drinking a lot of water and making birdies.”

On the prevalent conditions at the course, Pablo said: “The conditions are great. When you come to a golf course that they’ve really changed, and they’ve not only changed it for us but for amateurs too. I’m sure the members here enjoy it a lot more and obviously there are a lot more pin positions for us. I think they did a great job and it’s looking magnificent.”

The tournament was first held in 1998 and since then it is considered Qatar’s annual ‘must-attend’ sporting and social event.

Defending champion Antoine Rozner, who won last year with a 60-foot putt on the last day at Education City Golf club, was tied eighth (-4) after the first day’s play.

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters tees off tomorrow

Doha: The occasional wind and the chill in the Qatari capital will test some of the world’s best golfers during the silver jubilee edition of Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at the Doha Golf Club (DGC) course from tomorrow.

A total of 144 golfers including 140 professionals and four amateurs will be in action in the DP World Tour – formerly known as the European Tour – event for the first time following renovation at DGC.

This year’s edition will see the tournament return to its original venue after two years due to renovation work at the course, with Education City Golf Club hosted the 2020 and 2021 editions.

But according to the Qatar Golf Association Technical Director Mike Shoueiry the redesigned four new greens can throw some challenge to the competitors.

“All the 18 holes have been reconstructed with four new greens being redesigned differently. If the greens are cut to become faster and given the windy weather forecast over the next few days, the players are in for a tough test,” said Shoueiry.

The DGC course was designed by UAE-based Peter Harradine and was opened in 1997, with the first Qatar Masters held in 1998 with a strong history of winners including double champions Paul Lawrie, Adam Scott and Branden Grace.

Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Ernie Els and Thomas Bjorn are also among those to have claimed the title.

Defending champion Antoine Rozner will be back in action along with Jorge Campillio, Chris Wood, Justin Harding and Eddie Pepperell.

QGA wants to give best golf experience, says Shoueiry

By Armstrong Vas

DOHA: Around 140 top-ranked golfers will vie for honours at the $2m Commercial Bank Qatar Masters which will be held as a part of the DP World Tour at the Doha Golf Club.

The tournament, which celebrates its silver jubilee this year, will be held from March 24-27, 2022.

“We have made all the arrangements to give the best experience to the fans, officials and all those associated with the tournament,” said Mike Shoueiry Technical Director at Qatar Golf Association (QGA).

The pro-am event will be held on March 23 and the champion will be crowned on March 27.

Qatar Masters, founded in 1998, is a professional golf tournament, which was earlier a part of European Tour.

“The officials of DP World Tour are expected to arrive two weeks before the event while the next batch of officials will check into Doha one week prior to the event. They will be followed by the DP World Tour media team, players, caddies and other personnel,” added Shoueiry.

The tournament is the second oldest DP World Tour event on the Arabian Peninsula after the Dubai Desert Classic, and it now forms part of an extended Middle East Swing on the tour.

The event which has had been previously won by the likes of Ernie Els, Adam Scott, Paul Lawrie and Henrik Stenson will see some of the top ranked players in attendance this year.

Qatar’s Saleh Al Kaabi, Ali Al Shahrani will get wild cards

By Armstrong Vas

Doha: England’s Matthew Jordan and Poland’s Adrian Meronk share the lead on Sunday morning at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at the Doha Golf Club course.

Finland’s Kalle Samooja was a stroke behind after shooting 6-under 66 on Saturday.

Jordan (70) and Meronk (72) had 54-hole totals of 8-under 208 as both search for their first European tour win.

The 282nd-ranked Jordan had a front-nine 39 but recovered with five birdies on the back nine in an overall “stressful” round.

The tournament is celebrating its silver jubilee this year.

This year’s Qatar Open Amateur Championship-winner Denmark’s Mikkel Mathiesen along with Saudi Arabia’s Faisal Salhab will receive wild cards for the DP Tour event along with Qatar’s Saleh Al Kaabi and Ali Al Shahrani.

The four complete the amateur line up in which 140 top-ranked players will be vying for the Mother of Pearl Trophy.

The Qatar Masters is a pro tournament, which was part of the erstwhile European Tour and was founded in 1998, making it the 2nd oldest DP World Tour event on the Arabian Peninsula after the Dubai Desert Classic.

It now forms part of an extended Middle East Swing on the Tour.

The highly anticipated event is organised by Qatar Golf Association (QGA) with the support of Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC), Doha Golf Club (DGC) and long-term title sponsor.

This year, the event returns to its original home at Doha Golf Course, after the last two editions were held at Education City.

Last year, eventual winner Antoine Rozner’s closing 67 helped him ward off the challenge of Italian Guido Migliozzie, South Africa’s Darren Fichardt and Indian star Gaganjeet Bhullar, all who finished tied second, one back.

The event has been previously won by the likes of Ernie Els, Adam Scott, Paul Lawrie and Henrik Stenson and the 2022 edition will see some of the top ranked players in attendance.

Incredible 60 foot putt helps Rozner win title

Doha (Qatar): Antoine Rozner hit an incredible 60 foot putt on the last to win his second European Tour title at the 2021 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters on Sunday.

The Frenchman entered the final 18 holes on a calmer day at Education City Golf Club three shots off the lead.

“Winning a golf tournament is so rare – to win twice in just a few months is unreal. I’m just very happy with the way I got it done today in such a dramatic fashion, it’s amazing. I’m very happy,” he told europeantour.com

“The Ryder Cup in Paris… I was there every day. That’s a dream for me, to compete in one. If I can get it done this year – there is still a long, long road to go. It should be a goal. It will be, for the rest of the season, a goal for me. There is still a long road to go.”

India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar and South African Darren Fichardt, who won the 2003 edition, finished alongside Italy’s Guido Migliozzi a shot off the lead.

Overnight leader Fichardt put his approach at the first inside ten feet for an opening birdie and briefly led by three, but Rozner and Migliozzi made rapid strides on the leaderboard.

Fichardt signed for a level par 71 while Bhullar fired a closing 69, adding three birdies and two bogeys to that closing gain.

McEvoy carded a 68 and Donaldson registered a 70 to sit a shot ahead of England’s Chris Paisley and South African Brandon Stone, who both carded 70s of their own.

Belgian Thomas Detry, Dane Joachim B. Hansen, American Kurt Kitayama and Swede Niklas Lemke finished five shots off the lead.

South African Fichardt leads on third day

By Armstrong Vas

Doha (Qatar): Darren Fichardt emerged as the sole leader on the penultimate day of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at Education City Golf Club on Saturday.

The South African will take a one-stroke lead into the final round as he bids to win the Mother of Pearl trophy for the second time in Qatar.

The five-time European Tour winner, who won this event in 2003 put all his experience to good use in very difficult windy conditions to card a 70 which included a double bogey and two further dropped shots.

“When I started today, I couldn’t get the pace right, the greens sped up significantly with the wind. I was three-whacking like it was going out of fashion, on every green. Luckily, I figured my swing out on the range before I teed off,” Fichardt told europeantour.com

The 45-year old’s first win in Qatar came 18 years back at the Doha Golf Club and come Sunday he will have a go at the tile at the ECGC.

England’s Jack Senior, two-time winner on the European Challenge Tour, was on the second spot and will be looking for a maiden European Tour victory on Sunday.

“Then I got to the par five 13 – that’s a hell of a par five, plus wind. I walked off there making a double and felt a bit out of sorts,” he said.

On windy day just four players were under par as Senior carded a level par 71 to be in the second spot.

India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar carded a 68 at five under to move up 28 places and will go into the final day sitting in the third spot. He is a shot clear of Welshman Jamie Donaldson, Dane Joachim B. Hansen and Frenchman Antoine Rozner.

Denmark’s Winther takes lead on a windy second day

By Armstrong Vas

Doha (Qatar): Jeff Winther made the most of the perfect early morning conditions at the Education City Golf Club to take the lead on the second day of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters on Saturday.

The Dane carded five birdies and a single bogey to post a second successive 67 and get to 8-under par in the European Tour event.

Winther, who is looking for his maiden European Tour title, started proceedings at 6.45am but as the day progress the wind picked up pace making life on the course difficult for the others golfers who had late tee off’s.

Finland’s Kalle Samooja and South African Darren Fichardtcame close to joining Winther atop the summit but unable to stay put with two late bogeys shattering their plans.

Besides Samooja and Fichardt, on six under at the second spot were American Kurt Kitayama, Welshman Jamie Donaldson and England’s Jack Senior.

Play was suspended due to fading light at 5.40pm local time, with Joakim Lagergren, who is four under with three holes still to complete, one of 15 players who must return early on Saturday.

On Friday morning, Winther began the day three shots off the pace and remained at four under as he reached the turn but shifted gears thereafter to set a pace which no other late starters could keep pace with.

Winther admitted he was fortunate to avoid the worst of the wind.

“The wind is quite severe now. We were lucky. On the last three or four holes it was really starting to pick up. Playing around 15-20 yards further, you’ve got to be on your game,” said Wionther, who is currently in 61st place in the Race to Dubai.

“The greens are very nice. I don’t want to jinx myself but I think they are easy to putt on. They are very true. The condition is the same as last year, it’s beautiful.”

I’m a lot more focused on my targets than swings: Law

By Armstrong Vas

Doha (Qatar): David Law admitted focus played a key role after he ended the opening on top of the leaderboard Commercial Bank Qatar Masters here at the Education City Golf Club course on Thursday.

“I’m a lot more focused on my targets rather than my golf swings. Over the last couple of seasons I’ve been guilty of asking myself ‘why I’ve been hitting bad shots, instead of just going on to hit the next one’,” said Law, who carded seven birdies to take a one stroke lead.

The 29-year-old Scotsman, who has one European title under his belt having won the ISPS Handa Vic Open in early 2019, carded 7-under par 64.

“I’ve been guilty over the last few weeks when I’ve had decent rounds going but not finishing them off. I was semi-conscious of sticking with it and trying to go low. I was really happy with how I stuck to my routines, my processes and I came out of it with a good score,” Law added.

Four other players Kalle Samooja of Finland, Richard McEvoy of England, Hennie Du Plessis of South Africa and Nino Betasio of Italy follow the leader with an identical 6-under par 65.

“That was probably one of the easiest 65s I’ve ever shot. My game hasn’t been great up until now. Three weeks in the Middle East at the start of the year wasn’t great, but there were signs of some good golf going on,” McEvoy said.

Thomas Detry of Belgium, Garrick Higgo, of South Africa, Joakim Lagergren (Sweden) and Joachim B Hansen (Denmark) were one stroke behind the second-placed group.

“A good start was pretty important. If you’re too many shots behind it’s hard to catch when the wind picks up,” said Samooja.

Defending champion Jorge Campillo began his title defence with a four under par round of 67 along with Toby Tree of England, George Coetzee of South Africa, Pedro Figueiredo of Portugal, Kurt Kitayama of USA, Maximilian Kieffer of Germany, Scott Jamieson of Scotland, Gaganjeet Bhullar of India, Jeff Winther of Denmark, Chris Paisley of England, and Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay.