It’s different being defending champion, says Campillo

Doha (Qatar): The 24th edition of Commercial Bank Qatar Masters gets under way at the fabulous Education City Golf Course today.

The competition will feature Wilco Nienaber, Shaun Norris, Brandon Stone among others while five former champions including Jorge Campillo will be looking forward to add another title in the Qatari capital.

Here’s what they said a day before the tournament:

Jorge Campillo: “It’s different (being defending champion), I’ve never been in this position before because the other tournament I won (Trophée Hassan II) I couldn’t defend it. It’s new for me. I have had most of the attention this week, but I’m fine with it. It’s nice to be the defending champion.

“I’ve had a long time to think about the win. I was playing good and was ready to go to India to try and win another golf tournament, but that was stopped because of the pandemic. It was hard to come back after the break.

“The play-off stands out the most. It was such a great play-off. Besides all the putts I made, I hit some good shots too. David played great and I was glad I made those putts to keep up in the play-off.”

David Drysdale: “I’m still trying hard to win. That’s the main goal – the reason I practice and keep going. Last year here was a great opportunity, and those opportunities haven’t come along as much as I’d have liked in my career, but I’m trying to get in that position again. I know I can hit some good golf shots under pressure. The plan is to practice and give myself a chance to have a go on the back nine on Sunday. I’m going to have a go if I’m given an opportunity.

“I won a couple of Challenge Tour events a while ago, but last year if it wasn’t for Jorge Campillo’s ridiculous putting I might have had one on the European Tour – hats off to him but I also hit a lot of good golf shots.”

Rasmus Hojgaard: “I struggled at the WGC at The Concession, I think I got caught up in thinking about the result there. It’s a big event, you want to play well. I was thinking more about that instead of producing good golf shots. That will be my focus this week.

“I want to win as much as possible, but it’s more important that I keep improving my game and that should produce good results and more wins, I hope. It feels good to be back in Qatar, it’s a good course and I enjoyed playing it last year.”

Eddie Pepperell: “I haven’t done a great deal at home. I’ve been kindly allowed to practice, but I haven’t done much in the way of putting or chipping or played once – so we’ll have to see. But my body feels good and it’s just nice to get away from home for a week to Qatar.

“I was never really much of a goal-setter but I’m having to remind myself that I’m a golf professional. To have so much uncertainty, it’s wearing me down a bit. I’m just looking forward to getting some sort of normalcy back and then hope these things will come back to me. The longer you spend out of that habit the harder it can be to get back into it. I need to get competitive again, become a golf professional again and make the best of the rest of my career.”

Defending champion hopes to revive form in Doha

By Armstrong Vas

DOHA (Qatar): Spain’s Jorge Campillo will be back to defend his title at this year’s Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, according to the latest players’ entry list published by The European Tour.

The event takes place at the Education City Golf Course from March 11 to 14.

The Spaniard overcame David Drysdale of Scotland in a closely-fought play-off to win the 2020 edition for his second European Tour title.

Campillo, currently ranked 137, went through five playoff holes before clinching the decisive win.

The Caceres-born golfer sealed a long-awaited first European Tour victory at the 2019 Trophee Hassan II in his 229th career start, following three separate podium finishes earlier.

However, he has failed to display the same level of form throughout 2020 with the Qatar title remaining his only success.

In December last year, Campillo, who turned pro in 2009, failed to finish on the podiums at the DP World Tour Championship (Dubai) and Golf in Dubai Championship.

This year too, the lean patch continued for the 34-year-old who ended his campaign lower down the leaderboards at European Tour event Saudi International (February) and back-to-back competitions in the UAE – Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

But Campillo will be keen to do well in the Qatari capital, which has proved lucky for him after he finished second in the 2019 edition.