Former Liverpool, Manchester City and Bayern Munich footballer Dietmar Hamann is set to join golfers in the UAE in the fight against one of the world’s most deadly diseases by taking to the Earth course in the first event of the 2018 DHL Swing Against Cancer Golf Series.
The DHL Open gets underway at Jumeirah Golf Estates (JGE) on Thursday May 3.
The charity series, founded by Worldwide Golf and Sixteen10, launched last year and smashed its fund-raising target with US$100,000 raised for Sharjah-based charity Friends of Cancer Patients.
The money raised went directly towards the treatment of two patients who have both experienced a marked improvement in their condition as a result of the funding.
Celebrities from the worlds of sport and entertainment such as Gary McAllister, Harry Redknapp, Mike Tindall, Brian McFadden and Michael Campbell got involved in last year’s series.
German midfielder Hamann, who helped Liverpool win the 2005 UEFA Champions League, is the latest sports star to join the action which begins at Jumeirah Golf Estates, the home of the European Tour’s DP World Tour Championship, later this week in what promises to be an unforgettable occasion.
Hamann will then entertain guests at a gala dinner on JGE’s picturesque Terrace with a Q&A about his storied career accompanied by great food, drinks and entertainment along with a charity auction MC’d by Dubai Eye’s Tom Urquhart.
“I’m really looking forward to taking part in the DHL Open,” said Hamann.
“It’s for a great cause and I always enjoy coming to Dubai. It’s a fantastic part of the world.
“I’m sure it’ll be a fantastic day of golf and then we have the function afterwards where we’ll have a few laughs, maybe a few cold drinks, and hopefully raise a lot of money.”
As well as series title sponsors DHL, the 2018 series is backed by leading architectural firm DSA Architects who will host the DSA Open on the Majlis course on Thursday September 13.
Further support comes from Golf Superstore as well as flydubai, Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels, Dreamland Baku, Soneva, HAE Group, AVGO Express, MMI, AutoRoute, Enviroserve, Bullandroo, The Visiting Tailor, Cirque Le Soir and Il Borro Tuscan Bistro.
Non-golfers are welcome to attend the gala dinner: An Evening with Dietmar Hamann which includes dinner, two hours of unlimited drinks, celebrity Q&A and charity auction priced at AED345 or AED3,000 for a table of ten.
What: Swing against Cancer
Where: Jumeirah Golf Estates
When: Thursday May 3
Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant was crowned champion of the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters at on Saturday following a dramatic sudden death play-off lasting four holes.
The Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq saw Wiratchant edge out first Australia’s Peter Fowler and then America’s Clark Dennis the newly renamed Staysure Tour began an exciting new era in the northern emirate.
“It was really difficult out there today to get the win so I’m so pleased I managed to get over the line and secure the opening event of the Staysure Tour season,” said Wiratchant.
“The pin positions were really difficult today compared to the first two days so it was a real challenge out there.
“I had to be patient in the play-off as we were all hitting good shots every time we played the hole so I needed to keep my focus and wait for my chance. I just knew I had to get the win.”
Fowler, Wiratchant and Dennis were all locked at 12 under par at the end of regulation meaning a trip back up the 18th hole was required to find a winner.
Fowler, who had looked solid all day until making his first bogey since the ninth hole of Thursday’s opening round at the 17th, dropped out first after leaving his par putt short.
Two more trips down the Peter Harradine-designed nine-hole course’s closing hole saw pars apiece for Dennis and Wiratchant.
It’s a good job that the well-loved Sharjah course features floodlights because they were needed as the light faded with still no champion decided.
The fourth playing of the 18th saw Dennis overshoot the green with his approach while Wiratchant found the centre, still some 10 feet from the hole.
Dennis undercooked his chip back onto the green with the ball coming to a stop on the fringe, while Wiratchant lagged his put to within inches and looked to all be over.
There was almost one final moment of drama when Dennis almost chipped in for par, sending a gasp around the watching crowd, but it wasn’t to be and last year’s Order of Merit winner was left to accept the runner up spot as Wiratchant tapped home to claim the $63,750 winner’s cheque in the $425,000 event, making it two in a row for the 51-year-old, who also won the final event of the 2017 season in Mauritius.
“I have never played under floodlights before so that was a new challenge for me,” said the former Asian Tour player.
“Hopefully, I can kick on from here and really concentrate on the year ahead. I’d like to thank all the sponsors and organisers behind the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters. I look forward to returning to Sharjah next year to defend my title. This is a great start to my season.”
The final round was given added excitement with different pins used on each nine and it was Fowler, who started the day two behind Wiratchant and Dennis, who looked to have the momentum, playing the front nine in 33 blows after a birdie at the second and an eagle on the sixth – his third in as many days at the par five hole which was also played as the 15th.
Dennis had a turbulent front nine with consecutive birdies on the third and fourth holes giving way to bogeys on five and seven.
Wiratchant picked up a shot on the fourth and gave it away again on the ninth, meaning Fowler started the second nine with a one-stroke lead.
Dennis then dropped a further shot with a bogey at the 10th and when Fowler birdied the 13th he was three in front of the American and two ahead of the Thai.
But a fascinating final four holes saw the pendulum swing back level with Dennis picking up shots on 15 and 18, Wiratchant making a gain on 15 while Fowler dropped his first shot of the day on 17 meaning the spectators were treated to a truly dramatic conclusion to the first Staysure Tour event of 2018.
His Excellency Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), said: “The Sharjah Senior Golf Masters has become a symbolic sports event which is increasingly attracting some of the most prominent players from international golf.
“Adding to the emirate’s historic rank for being one of the focal destinations in MENA in the global sport of cricket, we celebrate the first Staysure Tour event of 2018 for strengthening Sharjah’s position as one of the top tier global destinations for the sport of golf, and for global golfers.
“Shurooq will continue in its development of this sport to ensure that Sharjah addresses the needs and demands behind the industry whether it is through sports, tourism or business investments.”
South Africa’s James Kingston finished fourth at eight under while Scotland’s Gary Orr and Argentina’s Mauricio Molina finished tied fifth two shots further back.
The Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq is set for a spectacular finale with Thaworn Wiratchant and overnight leader Clark Dennis going into the final round with a share of the lead on 11 under par after a low scoring day at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club.
Thailand’s Wiratchant set the pace early on Friday after a terrific run of five birdies in his first nine holes saw him set the clubhouse target. A further two birdies would follow on the back nine to see the MCB Tour Championship winner signing for a 65.
“My round today was great because I seemed to have control with all my shots,” said Wiratchant.
“I love it here in Sharjah because the weather is hot like Thailand and the course is in exceptional condition. It was easier today because there was less wind and the pin position was better. I came here with no expectations so to be joint-leader going into the final round, I’m very happy.”
Reigning Staysure Tour Order of Merit champion Dennis got off to a slow start with a bogey on the first but the American soon regained the form that saw him light up the opening round as the 52-year-old hit three birdies in his next five holes to put him back in the hunt.
A bogey on the ninth followed by three birdies in his final six holes meant the former PGA Tour player carded a 68 to join Wiratchant at the top of the table, ensuring a captivating final day in the northern emirate is on the cards.
“I played some golf again today but it was definitely more of a struggle than yesterday,” said Clark.
“I didn’t quite have the ‘A’ game but I still managed to hit some good shots on the back nine which gave me a couple of birdies so I’m really glad that I got to 11 under par heading into the final day.
“Tomorrow is a new day and everyone is going to be looking for those birdies. I don’t think that anyone will be trying to protect anything so it should be a low scoring day. Hopefully I can come out tomorrow and execute my game plan and make a few putts.”
Meanwhile, the round of the day went to Australian Peter Flower who made great strides up the leaderboard after shooting a breathtaking course record 64 to leave him nine under par in third place.
The 58-year-old’s best shot of the day came on the 15th where he chipped in for his second consecutive eagle at the par five hole.
“I really like it here. I liked it last year and was looking forward to coming back,” said Fowler.
“I was a long way behind with some good scores this morning and Clark was on pretty hot form as well. I had to put something good together today, which I did, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
South African James Kingston is in fourth place after a round of 68 left him four shots adrift of the leaders on seven under par whilst Spaniard Martin Miguel Angel and Englishman Philip Golding complete the top five on six under par after rounds of 70 of 68.
Amateur players Steven Kelbrick and Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club’s Amir Al Naimi carded a 76 and 78 respectively as they once again battled with some of the biggest names of the past. Kelbrick goes into the final round on seven over par with Al Naimi on eight over.
Speaking about the second day of the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters, HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal added: “We take great pride in the quality and diversity of the players at the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters and this is highlighted by the leaderboard that includes eight different nationalities in the top ten.
“We are proud to showcase Sharjah’s hospitality and the Emirati flair the emirate has to offer. With the competition entering the final round tomorrow, we look forward to seeing the competitiveness on display and are privileged to have Sharjah as the focal point of such an internationally acclaimed sport and competition.”