Swedish golfer Jens Dantorp produced a stunning finish to win the Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge in a dramatic sudden play-off and secure his place in next week’s Challenge Tour Grand Final in Oman.
Having started Saturday’s final round at Al Hamra Golf Club one shot off the lead on 11-under par, Dantorp, who finished tied 47 th in the inaugural Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge last year, birdied the par-five 18th to finish with a four-under par round of 68, forcing a play-off with Poland’s Adrian Meronk, who had finished minutes earlier after carding a five-under 67
to set the clubhouse target on 15-under par.
The pair headed back down to the final tee and Swedish ace Dantorp powered his drive down the centre of the fairway before firing a spectacular approach on the 557-yard hole to within six feet of the pin. Meronk rolled in his birdie putt but the steely Swede held his nerve to hole an eagle putt and claim the $56,000 winner’s cheque.
The win catapults Dantorp from 48th in the Race to Oman rankings to 17th, and seals his place in the Challenge Tour Grand Final, where the series’ top 45 players will battle for 15 full cards on next season’s PGA European Tour.
After receiving the trophy from His Excellency Sheikh Fahim, bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Emirates Golf Federation and President of the Arab Golf Federation, Dantorp, whose last victory on the Challenge Tour was at the 2013 Rolex Trophy, was delighted to be back in the winners’ circle.
“What a feeling. It’s been a few years chasing so this feels great,” said the 28-year-old. “I set out for the course record today, but that didn’t happen! I just wanted to hit as many fairways and as many greens in regulation as I could and hope the putter was hot. It was hot enough.
“That approach in the play-off was probably one of the best shots I’ve hit in my career. I just had one shot in mind when I hit it – that was Henrik Stenson’s special shot on 18th at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai a couple of years ago. I tried to repeat that and got it pretty close.”
— Visit Ras Al Khaimah (@RAKTourism) October 28, 2017
Dantorp’s fine finish was unlucky for Meronk, who had earlier posted an eagle on the par-five 3rd hole and birdies at the 7th, 9th and the par-five 14th. Despite missing on out victory, Meronk’s performance rockets him from 70th in the rankings to 33rd and a place in the Oman field.
Meronk said: “I’m really pleased with my performance. I felt pretty good coming into the week and played pretty well so I’m really happy. The course was challenging and the pins were really tough. It certainly wasn’t easy.”
Haitham Mattar, CEO of RAKTDA, the organiser of this week’s Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge, said: “The final round was a thrilling end to a hugely successful week for the Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge. What a great finish. Jens’ performance, to come from behind and win with an eagle, was exceptional. To win in a play-off just highlights the high quality of golf the spectators were treated to throughout four dramatic days of play.
“With so much at stake for so many of the players the level of competition was fierce. We congratulate all the players for their efforts and commitment in helping us further grow the stature of the Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge.”
The Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge was supported by a marquee line-up of sponsors for its second edition including the Al Hamra Group and Al Hamra Golf Club, Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, Emirates Airline, AGMC BMW, RAKEZ and Hunts and Harris.
For more information on Ras Al Khaimah visit: www.rasalkhaimah.ae.
Just the second New Zealander to win a major, Michael Campbell became a national hero in 2005 when he came from nowhere to win the US Open at Pinehurst, holding off the great Tiger Woods to win by two strokes.
The 48-year-old retired from golf in 2015 and now concentrates on coaching the next generation of major winners through his Michael Campbell Golf Academy.
While visiting Dubai to play in today’s Swing Against Cancer Golf Series at Jumeirah Golf Estates (JGE), Campbell ran the rule over the runners and riders at next month’s DP World Tour Championship.
Michael Campbell: I think it was because of a conversation I had with Jack Nicklaus about 12 years ago after winning the US Open. Jack said: “Michael, well done on winning your first major, but now as a major winner you are responsible for passing on your experience to the young kids and grow the game globally.”
So ever since that conversation the thought stuck in my mind and four years ago I got this wonderful opportunity to open up my first golf academy in Marbella, southern Spain, and it’s been a great success and I’ve really enjoyed it.
My path right now is passing what’s up here (taps his head) to these young kids, because they are like sponges. It’s incredible, but it’s been a lot of fun.
I’ve never played it and I haven’t got time to play it while I’m here. But I’ve heard lots about it, I’ve seen it on TV obviously. I’ve seen guys play it in the Race to Dubai.
It looks very challenging. I believe Greg Norman-designed it and it’s a tough golf course.
Tommy’s always been a great player. I first came across Tommy when he joined six or seven years ago and I always rated Tommy the way he strikes the ball. A great ball striker. He needed to mature as a player and obviously he has the last few years or so.
He’s become a fine player, came close at the US Open this year, and obviously he’s had a great season.
It didn’t surprise me to be honest. After playing with him when he first came out I thought, “Hmmm, this guy’s special”.
Funny enough, on the way here from Madrid I bumped into Grant Fox in the airport. We spoke about Ryan and it’s been great to see him mature as a player.
I played with him six years ago in the New Zealand Open and he is a wonderful talent. But his game management was very poor, obviously it’s improved over the last couple of years as it does.
He’s improved as a player and it showed the last couple (of years), especially this year, he’s had a great season.
He hits it such a long way, he still needs to work on his short game, and pitching as well, but apart from that he’s definitely got a big future in this game.
I think he’s been patient, and has had to be patient for such a long time. Sergio has been a great player for so many years, since he was 19-years-old and that shot from behind the tree back in 1999 (at the PGA Championship at Medinah).
He’s always been very, very talented, Sergio, he’s a great friend of mine and it’s great to see him win this year at Augusta and I think he also won just this week at Valderrama.
He’s had a stellar season this year. Hopefully he can win another major. He’s one of the best ball strikers in the world too.
His nemesis has really been his putting but it looks like he’s got that sorted out.
I think a player that’s a complete player. In other words a player who can putt, chip, wedge play, drive long and straight.
Their iron play has got to be precise, just as control wise with iron play. So the player that wins the DP World Tour has to have all his facets really in place to win.
Sergio is showing a lot good form, especially last week. Tommy’s going to be hard to beat. I think it will be out of those two – Sergio or Tommy.
* The DP World Tour Championship is once more a free entry event to attract a crowd of both golfers and non-golfers. To register for Free Fast Track Entry visit www.dpwtc.com.
Former US Open champion Michael Campbell has given a blunt appraisal of Tiger Woods‘ chances of ever winning another tournament.
“No,” said Campbell when asked about Woods’ prospects at a junior golf clinic at Jumeriah Golf Estate (JGE) in Dubai on Tuesday.
Woods posted a video on Monday night of him hitting his trademark “stinger” iron shot, the latest of a series of social media teases that he is ready to make a comeback in 2018 having not played since withdrawing from the Dubai Desert Classic.
“I just saw him swing a few swings on Instagram and it looks okay but – he’s forty-something now (41), he’s been through four back surgeries, three knee surgeries. He hasn’t been out there for five or six years now, he’s so far behind.
“It’s like Tiger waiting at a train station and all these trains are passing by for the last six years, and that’s all these guys. Guys like Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, DJ (Dustin Johnson), Jason Day, these guys weren’t around, when Tiger Woods was winning everything.
“All of a sudden all these young guys come along who hit it further, stronger. I think he’s going to struggle. It’s a real shame because I’d love to see him out there again.”
The 48-year-old Maori said Woods biggest problem is golf is now a different game from when he was in his prime from the mid-1990s until his much publicised off-course issues in 2008.
Woods’ last major victory was the 2007 PGA Championship while his most recent tournament win was
the WGC Bridgestone in 2013.
“It’s a different game, different ball, different equipment, they hit it further, (golfers are) more athletic,” added Campbell. “It’s the evolution of golf. You look at all the sports, whether it’s rugby or football or whatever. They’re fitter, stronger, faster – the same with golf.”
Campbell is in Dubai for the final of the Swing Against Cancer Golf Series, the Mike Clark Golf Day at JGE on Thursday. The event will raise funds for the Friends of Cancer Patients charity, a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping patients and their families.
Individual entry for the evening event is only Dh395, and a table of 10, Dh3,500. For more information, call 056 442 1067 or email [email protected]