The inaugural Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq reached a thrilling conclusion as South Africa’s Chris Williams claimed his first title in six years at the first hole of a sudden-death play-off against Englishman Gary Marks.
“Words fail me. After being eight years on the Tour and finally getting my second win after all these years is just amazing,” said Williams, whose last win came at the Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters.
“I’ve been playing well and scoring well in South Africa leading up to this event, playing in as many pro-ams as I could to keep my game sharp. So that gave me a lot of confidence before this week.”
Like all of the players this week, Williams was highly impressed by the Peter Harradine-designed course at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club – the first time a Senior Tour event had been played on a nine-hole layout.
“The course was amazing, the fairways where very good and the greens were magnificent,” said the 57 year old.
“Everybody I’ve spoken to enjoyed playing this golf course. We didn’t know how a nine-hole course was going to work but it’s been tremendous and it really gives you food for thought.”
The event also marked the first time the European Senior Tour had ever visited the emirate of Sharjah and the organisers could scarcely have hoped for a more captivating final day.
The Dubai-based teenager, now ranked India’s No1 amateur, shot rounds of six-over par 78 and three-over par 75 to finish on nine-over par at the halfway stage.
Play was suspended yesterday due to darkness after a second straight day of interruption due to a thunderstorm. All the players playing in the afternoon group were yet to complete their rounds.
The cut, on what is proving to be a very difficult Gary Player course at DLF Golf & Country Club, is expected to fall at five-over par.
“I must say I am a little disappointed to miss the cut, but I played super solid this week. I did hit the ball very solid. If they did my proximity to the hole stat, I think I would be in the top-five of the field,” said 17-year-old Thomas, who finished tied 60th in Omega Dubai Desert Classic last month.
“But in the future, if I have to make a choice of playing badly and missing the cut, or to play like this and miss the cut, I’d much prefer the second option.
“I really had one bad hole, the 18th where I hit two bad drives and it cost me five shots for the two rounds with a double and a triple, which made all the difference. It is a par-5 hole, so I’d expect to make a birdie there.
“And I did not make any putt over the two days. The greens were tricky, but my putter went surprisingly cold.”
Thomas however saw the silver lining in the tough test that he endured.
“I really enjoyed my first Indian Open. The golf course was interesting. It was very tough and in great condition. I think I am going to find the UAE courses so much more easier when I come back,” he said.
“It is so different from the course we have back home. The slightest of mis-hits, if you get into the bushes, or find water, can result in a big number. There were times you felt like you saved a shot if you made a bogey after getting into some of these spots.”
Challenging everything expected of, or known, about golf events – and golfers- the Long Drive World Series Dubai will see eight of the world’s very best Long Drivers battle it out in what will be the first round of the four– city series.
It is the first time ever that all eight international champions will compete in the same event anywhere in the world.
Those competing will be Lucas Dornan, UK Long Drive Champion and Long Drive World Series competitor , two-time World Champion Joe Miller and many more stars of the format.
The Long Drive World Series event is designed to have crowds on the edge of their seats and deliver some real upsets for the so-called experts.
There will be sudden death knockouts and head-to-head battles, as well as the unknown challenge of two wildcard places.
Women or men who believe they have the drive and gusto to go head-to-head with some of the world’s best can score a wildcard one of two ways:
eGolfMegastore Al Wasl: The first way is to visit eGolfMegastore’s Al Wasl, branch in Dubai where would-be long-drivers can record their longest drive for a chance to fill one wildcard place. Entries close on 14th March those thinking about it are encouraged to get moving.
Open Qualifier, 16 March, 2pm: The second way is for golfers to take a long-lunch on Thursday, 16th March and join the Open Qualifier at2pm at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Along with the opportunity to compete against the main field, and forever hold bragging rights, the two wild-card entries will also be eligible to win their share of the of Dh223,281 event prize fund.