The DP World Tour Championship returns to Dubai on Thursday.
Here, we take a look at four key holes at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
From the tee it is difficult to get a good perspective of the landing area on this short par 4 as there are several slopes, undulations and pot bunkers waiting to catch a poorly thought-out tee shot. With several tee box options the European Tour will often move the tee forward on a couple of days to give the players the opportunity to attack the green with their drives, thus creating a “must make” birdie if you are going to give yourself a chance to be in the mix with an opportunity to win on Sunday.
The 486 yard par four 16th is one of several demanding finishing holes, proving a real challenge for the professionals as they reach the business end of the tournament. A well struck tee shot safely negotiating the fairway bunkers will leave a second shot to be played from a hanging lie, as the natural contours of the fairway move from left to right and fall steeply away. The Sunday pin position for the DP World Tour Championship will inevitably be positioned on the far right hand side of this undulating Mackenzie green, bringing the lake into play with any mis-timed approach shots. A potentially destructive bogey at this stage of the Championship.
The 17th will play quite differently for the late morning starters with the Arabian Gulf breeze picking up throughout the afternoon. With swirling gusts and some tricky swales around the green, players will be looking to punch the ball low towards the hole, controlling the ball flight in the breeze. The players will need to be pinpoint accurate to set up a birdie chance on this signature hole.
With the 620 yards par five 18th being virtually out of reach in two for even the longest hitters on the European Tour, controlling your pitch shot becomes the key to setting up a birdie chance. At last year’s event the players encountered all sorts of problems with this mammoth finishing hole, the layup second shot proving particularly difficult with the players unsure as to which line and distance to take. Don’t be surprised to see the tees moved forward, enticing the players to go for the green in two, creating a dramatic finish to the final day’s play. This creates a great risk/reward closing hole for the longer drivers. When the tees are forward the green is within range in two shots as we saw in 2013, when Henrik Stenson played the shot of the year with a 3-wood to within a few inches from the pin to set up an amazing eagle and clinch the DP World Tour Championship title.
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