Former Liverpool star Didi Hamann features as 2018 DHL Swing Against Cancer Series tees off

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The 2018 DHL Swing Against Cancer Series started with a bang as over 170 golfers and guests joined former Liverpool footballer Didi Hamann at Jumeirah Golf Estates for the DHL Open.

The event was held to raise more than US$20,000 for Friends of Cancer Patients and will go directly to the treatment of three-year old Mohamed Sameer Abdullah, recently diagnosed with leukemia.

“I wanted to get involved in this fantastic series as it helps such a great cause,” said Hamann, who was part of the Liverpool team that clinched the Champions League in dramatic fashion in 2005, coming back from 3-0 down against AC Milan to win on penalties in 2005 – with the German scoring the first spot kick in the shootout.

“Hopefully the money we have raised today can go towards Mohamed’s treatment and cures him so he can lead a normal childhood.

“I think it’s our responsibility to give back to the community and society. Some people are not as fortunate as myself so it’s great to get involved with such a great cause and help out this little boy.”

The afternoon golf event saw Maruf Khan come out on top in the amateur division scoring an impressive 44 stableford points with Hisham Shammas finishing second, also with 44 points but missing out on first place on a back nine countback.

Completing the podium places in third place with 43 points was Paul Grayson and all three will now qualify for the DHL Swing Against Cancer Golf Series Grand Final, the Mike Clark Golf Day, which takes place back on the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates on November 1, where a place in the Pro-Am at the star-studded DP World Tour Championship will be up for grabs.

In the pro division, Ricki Neil-Jones finished top of the pile after a classy round of 78 to win a place in the grand final where he will compete for a three-night golf break at Shangri-La’s Hambantota Golf Resort & Spa in Sri Lanka.

For 16 handicapper Hamann however, it was all about having fun with his teammates from title sponsors DHL.

Didi Hamann (r) pictured with his DHL team-mates.

Didi Hamann (r) pictured with his DHL team-mates.

“My golf isn’t as good as it should be but then again I’m not a very patient man,” he laughed.

“You need to have patience and dedication on the range to try and improve your game. I enjoy the social aspect of being out on the course with the lads and having a laugh. If I play well that’s a bonus.”

The DHL Swing Against Cancer Golf Series, organised by Worldwide Golf and Sixteen10, launched last year and has captured the imagination of the UAE’s golf and business communities as well as gaining support from a string celebrities from the worlds of sport and entertainment including Harry Redknapp, Mike Tindall, Michael Campbell, Teddy Sheringham, Gary McAllister and Brian McFadden.

A total of US$100,000 was raised in 2017 and the 2018 series looks set to raise the bar yet further with an international event for the first time at Brocket Hall Golf Club in London on June 29.

It returns to the UAE for the DSA Open at Emirates Golf Club on September 13 and the much-loved Mike Clark Golf Day on November 1.

Having supported the series since it launched, leading logistics company DHL has this year thrown even more weight behind it by becoming title sponsor and country manager Geoff Walsh revealed the motivation behind the company’s involvement.

“It was a no-brainer for us to get involved as title sponsor. We have a corporate social responsibility and want to give back to the community,” he said.

“We want to raise as much money as possible to give towards Mohamed’s treatment. We can do something very special here in the UAE and it’s also great we are going to have an event in the UK for the first time.

“It’s been great playing with Didi as we are both excellent players. We have had great fun playing with him and he’s been really good company. It’s great that he has come out here to help raise some vital funds.”

Worldwide Golf’s Richard Bevan added: “It’s fantastic to see such an amazing turnout– the series has really taken on a momentum of its own and for so many people to get behind what we’re trying to do is truly heart-warming.

“Most people have been affected by cancer in some way and it is incumbent on all of us to do anything we can do to try and fight back.”

Following play there was a glitzy gala dinner where items were snapped up in a charity auction before Hamann entertained guests with a live Q&A.

For more information on any DHL Swing Against Cancer Golf Series event, or to find out how you can get involved, email [email protected] or visit www.swingagainstcancer.com.

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Liverpool legend Dietmar Hamann set to join UAE golfers for the 2018 DHL Swing Against Cancer Golf Series

Alex Broun 30/04/2018
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Dietmar Hamann is coming to Dubai for the DHL Swing Against Cancer Golf Series

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.

Swing Against Cancer Golf series

Swing Against Cancer Golf series

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

Contact: www.swingagainstcancer.com

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Thaworn Wiratchant crowned champion at Sharjah Senior Golf Masters after dramatic play-off win

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Thaworn Wiratchant was celebrating victory in Sharjah.

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.

Clark Dennis was in contention throughout the competition in Sharjah.

Clark Dennis was in contention throughout the competition in Sharjah.

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.

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