Ras Al Khaimah joins the big guns in golf

Budding talent: Future Falcons 11-year-old Maya Palanza Gaudin during the pro-am at the Al Hamra Course in Ras Al Khaimah on Wednesday. — Supplied photo
Budding talent: Future Falcons 11-year-old Maya Palanza Gaudin during the pro-am at the Al Hamra Course in Ras Al Khaimah on Wednesday. — Supplied photo

Dubai - Becomes the latest emirate to play host to a DP World Tour event when the inaugural tournament begins on Thursday

By Team KT

Published: Wed 2 Feb 2022, 11:46 PM

Ras Al Khaimah will become the latest emirate in the UAE to play host to a DP World Tour event, having previously hosted the Challenge Tour on three occasions, when some of the game’s biggest names gather on the stunning Peter Harradine-designed Al Hamra Course this week to contest the inaugural Ras Al Khaimah Championship presented by Phoenix Capital.

Danny Willett, Bernd Wiesberger, Robert MacIntyre, Richard Bland and twins Nicolai and Rasmus Højgaard are among those teeing it up alongside the shimmering Arabian Gulf in the northern emirate where a $2 million prize fund and 2,750 DP World Tour Ranking Points will be up for grabs.

Englishman Willett has a strong track record in the desert having claimed victory in the 2016 Dubai Desert Classic and the 2018 DP World Tour Championship.

“I have some great memories from my time in the UAE,” said the 2016 Masters Tournament champion and eight-time DP World Tour winner. “It’s a place I’ve always enjoyed visiting and I’ve obviously won twice in Dubai, so it’s exciting that we have a new region to visit and a new golf course to play on this year.

“It’s nice here. First look yesterday (Tuesday), scoring’s going to be low. It’s generous in places, tightens up a little bit around the greens on a few holes. A lot of it will depend on the weather, if we get weather like this for the four days I think you’re going to see some pretty low scores out there.

“But it’s a new addition, an hour down the road from Dubai which makes for easy travel for the lads and it should be a good week.”

Wiesberger, who made his Ryder Cup debut at Whistling Straits last year, becoming the first Austrian to tee it up in The Matches, came agonisingly close to victory in last year’s AVIV Dubai Championship, missing out by a stroke to Joachim B. Hansen at Jumeirah Golf Estates. The 36 year old has racked up nine top 10 finishes in the UAE and the eight-time DP World Tour winner is keen to get his hands on some silverware in this part of the world.

“I really enjoy playing golf in the Middle East, the only thing I’m missing there is a victory,” said Wiesberger, who has made a solid start 2022 with a tied 12th place finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and a tied 24th place finish at the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic.

“For the most part I’ve been happy with the first two weeks. I put myself into good positions going into Sunday. I didn’t do quite good enough on Sunday in Dubai last week, just nothing wanted to click unfortunately and not the best finish in Abu Dhabi either.

“So a lot of positives, but also the fact that I could have seen myself higher up the leaderboard at the end of the week. But trying to assess where I am early in the season was good, a lot of good stuff happening and I just need to build on that and get myself into that position on a Sunday afternoon more often.

The tournament’s pro-am has been a platform to showcase some of the bright local talents as Future Falcons 11-year-old Maya Palanza Gaudin, who is the current women’s champion at Yas Links, Abu Dhabi, and Joshveer Chadha were joined by MacIntyre.

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