Dubai Desert Classic: The champions so far ...

Dubai Desert Classic: The champions so far ...
Rory McIlroy

Interesting sub-plot as McIlroy paired with Stenson



Published: Wed 3 Feb 2016, 10:32 PM

The Omega Dubai Desert Classic is into its 27th year and it continues to grow bigger and better with each passing year.
Dubbed the 'Major of the Middle East,' the Desert Classic has attracted the biggest names in golf and has been a home to the champions.
And the legacy continues with this year's event headlining another stellar field at the historic Majlis Course of the Emirates Golf Club. There are eight Major champions, six European Tour No.1s, 89 European Tour winners and nine past winners of the Desert Classic.
Leading the array of stars is defending champion and two-time winner of the Desert Classic, Rory McIlroy.
The Northern Ulsterman, also a winner in 2009, will embark on a title defence alongside the likes of triple winner Ernie Els, former champion Miguel Angel Jimenez, back-to-back winner Stephen Gallacher, as well as previous winners Alvaro Quiros and Henrik Stenson.
McIlroy is also gunning a record fifth European Tour in the Middle East. The current world No.2 is tied on four wins with Stenson for the most European Tour titles in the Middle East.
And that sets up an interesting sub-plot and battle between the two as the duo have been paired together for the first two rounds. McIlroy and Stenson will tee off from the first alongside Louis Oosthuizen.
The 26-year-old McIlroy has always had a strong showing in Dubai, with top 10 finishes in his last six visits to the desert. He is also 81 under par in those six appearances where he has won it in 2009, sixth in 2010, 10th in 2011, fifth in 2012, ninth in 2014 and winning it again last year.
Meanwhile, record Desert Classic champion Ernie Els has been paired with Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Austria's Bernd Wiesberger. The three will tee off from the 10th.
Scotland's Stephen Gallacher, back-to-back winner here in 2013 and 2014, will walk out on Thursday afternoon along with Sweden's Robert Karlsson and South Africa's Brandon Stone. They too will tee off from the 10th.
Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez, champion here in a thrilling play-off in 2010, has been paired with England's Andy Sullivan and Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee. The threesome will tee off from the first.
Jimenez's compatriot Alvaro Quiros, who staged a brilliant comeback from eight shots down from the leaders to winning the Desert Classic with 11-under in 2011, has been paired along with England's David Horsey and Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti.
Former world No.1 England's Lee Westwood will tee off from the first along with countryman Ross Fisher and Kristoffer Broberg of Sweden.
Germany's Martin Kaymer too will tee off from the first with Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen.
American amateur Bryson DeChambeau, who has earned the moniker of 'golfing scientist,' will tee off from the first on Thursday afternoon with compatriot Peter Uihlein and Italian Edoardo Molinari.
james@khaleejtimes.com



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