Former Manchester United midfielder Lee Sharpe proved that he is as classy and entertaining off the football pitch as he was on it when he joined the fun at the DSA Open at Emirates Golf Club to help support the Friends of Cancer Patients charity.
The event, part of the increasingly popular DHL Swing Against Cancer Golf Series, saw a full field of 120 golfers take to the famous Majlis course for a day of golfing action before ‘Sharpie’ regaled 190 dinner guests with hilarious tales from his days playing for Sir Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering side of the 1990s when he was treated to the legendary manager’s ‘hairdryer’ treatment on more than one occasion.
As well as being an unforgettable occasion for all who attended, the event, organised by Worldwide Golf and Sixteen10, had a serious goal in raising awareness for Friends of Cancer Patients and supporting the treatment of four-year-old Mohamed Sameer Abdullah who was recently diagnosed with leukemia.
“It is always nice to get involved in a good cause,” said Sharpe who was one of the most exciting talents of a United side that won two consecutive Premier League and FA Cup doubles in 1992/93 and 1993/94.
“Young Mohamed is struggling with cancer so we’re trying to get him well, and I don’t think there is any better way than to get a load of guys and girls together to have an enjoyable day followed by a lovely evening of good food and entertainment.”
Started in 2017, the Swing Against Cancer Golf Series has gone from strength to strength, with a veritable who’s who from the worlds of sports and entertainment show their support.
The list includes Harry Redknapp, Teddy Sheringham, Gary McAllister, Dietmar Hamann, Mike Tindall and Michael Campbell, as well as former Westlife singer Brian McFadden.
In addition to May’s DHL Open at the DP World Tour Championship venue Jumeirah Golf Estates and last week’s event, the 2018 DHL Swing Against Cancer Golf Series is already well on the way to topping previous totals.
As well as capturing the imagination of the UAE’s golf and sport lovers, the success of the series has been down in no small part to the support of its partners, key among which are series sponsor DHL and Platinum partner DSA Architects.
“It was an amazing turnout for this great charity event,” said DSA Architects managing director Steve Kelshaw.
“As a corporate entity, we have a responsibility to create something that we really believe in and to have this level of interest and support have been overwhelming.
“Dubai is our home, we have been here for 25 years and we feel that we should give back. Cancer plagues all societies and it has touched everybody throughout the years so for us it is the right charity for us, it is in our own backyard and we are playing a game that we love so it’s a no brainer.
“Having Lee here was great for us, when we asked him to come over he accepted in a heartbeat, he would not even question it, which is a testament to the guy so we are delighted that he came through.”
Sixteen10’s managing director Reza Sazegar added: “The support we have received from the local business community is truly humbling and each and every person who has lent their support is making a difference to the life of Mohamed who badly needs treatment.”
Worldwide Golf’s Rick Bevan said: “These events just keep getting bigger and better and our local partners are really hands on so we’re incredibly fortunate and grateful to have them.
“Lee Sharpe was an absolute legend and had us all in stiches laughing at his stories so it was a really great day and to raise the amount we did was wonderful.”
The DHL Swing Against Cancer Golf Series culminates in the grand final which runs alongside the Mike Clark Golf Day on the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates on Thursday, November 1, two weeks before the Race to Dubai’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
With only six weeks to go until the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour grand final, Al Hamra Golf Club are pulling out all the stops.
This is to ensure players and fans are treated to a top-class golfing experience in the northern emirate as the club hosts the European Challenge Tour’s season-ending tournament for the first time.
Having previously hosted the penultimate event on the calendar since 2016, Al Hamra Golf Club will go one better this year with the top 45 players on the European Challenge Tour descending to the club from October 31 to November 3 as they aim to seal a coveted European Tour card for next season by finishing in the top 15 of the Road to Ras Al Khaimah rankings in the Challenge Tour’s season finale.
The stunning par 72 championship golf course, which measures 7,325 yards at full length, meanders around four inter-connected open water lagoons merging seamlessly with the water of the Arabian Gulf and is designed by world renowned golf course architect Peter Harradine.
In preparation for the season-ending event, Harradine visited the course in June and it was agreed that the course had strayed from its original design since opening in 2007.
Following Harradine’s visit, Al Hamra staff have been working tirelessly on the South African’s recommendations to get the course in the best possible shape.
All 40 course bunkers have been renovated; fairway contours reinstated, tee complexes realigned and greens expanded to present players with a stern but fair challenge ahead of the first tee time on October 31.
“The team at Al Hamra Golf Club has worked relentlessly throughout the extreme climatic conditions of summer to drastically improve the overall conditions of this beautiful golf course,” said Troon Golf’s Alex McDowell, whose team maintains the course.
“We have invested a lot of time restoring all the bunkers to their original design by removing vast amounts of turf encroachment.
“In return, we now have larger, more intimidating bunkers that dramatically add to the aesthetics of each hole and are now a true reflection of Peter Harradine’s design.
“The team is exceptionally excited to ensure Al Hamra Golf Club is presented to the highest of standards and exceed the expectations of the European Tour by providing immaculate playing conditions for all the competitors in the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour grand final.”
There will be plenty to do for all the family at the grand final with a bustling Championship Village which promises to offer a variety of activities open for all ages as well as plenty of food and beverage outlets to keep visitors fed and hydrated whilst taking a break from the action.
Course architect Harradine said: “The vision of HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al-Qasimi, ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, has largely been rewarded as an uninteresting piece of land, previously soaked by sea water during high tide, has been transformed in to a golf course of a standard that is capable of holding an international PGA tournament.
“I am sure that the professional golfers will appreciate the character and condition of the course capably maintained by Alex McDowell and his team.”
Scotsman Liam Johnston emphatically sealed his spot in the season-ending Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour grand final after picking up his second European Challenge Tour win of the season at the Kazakhstan Open presented by ERG.
The 25-year-old began the final round one shot back from leader Sean Crocker and dropped a shot on his opening to fall further behind. But Johnston bounced back immediately with a birdie on the next before picking up four more shots on the front nine including a sublime eagle at the par 5 ninth to take the outright lead.
One more birdie and eights pars followed on the back nine and despite a late charge from England’s Tom Murray, who ultimately finished in second place, Johnston secured a two-stroke victory at Zhailjau Golf Resort.
The Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour grand final is now only six weeks away and the top 45 players on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah rankings will go head-to-head at Al Hamra Golf Club from Wednesday, October 31 to Saturday November 3, in a bid to secure one of the 15 coveted European Tour cards available for next season.
As well as sealing his spot in Ras Al Khaimah, Johnston has all but sealed his European Tour playing privileges for next season after collecting 72,000 Road to Ras Al Khaimah points which moves him from 40th to fourth in the rankings.
Johnston, who won the Andalucia – Costa del Sol Match Play 9 earlier this season, came into the season without any expectations after having to rely on invites to get into events.
“I started the season with no category at all, and was just playing off invites,” said Johnston. “That first win was huge for me in taking the step onto the Challenge Tour and it seems like this one’s going to be a huge win in taking a step onto the European Tour.
“I couldn’t even imagine this was going to happen starting this year in January with the goals that I’d set for myself.”
Simon Higginbottom, Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour grand final tournament director, added his congratulations, saying: “Congratulations to Liam on his second win of the season at the Kazakhstan Open.
“To win at one the flagship events on the Challenge Tour is a fantastic achievement and one that has put Liam fourth in the rankings and in prime position to secure a European Tour Card next season by finishing in the top 15.
“We look forward to welcoming him to Al Hamra Golf Club as he aims to finish the season on a high and challenge for top spot in the rankings.”
Murray’s magical final round 65 saw him finish in second place and pick up 49,000 points. The Englishman jumps from 45th to 11th in the rankings which secures his spot in the grand final.
Another significant mover in the rankings was American Crocker who finished tied for third. Crocker moves up to 32nd from 79th and is now on the brink of qualification.
The Challenge Tour now travels to Mallemort, France, for the Hopps Open de Provence, which will be the 24th event on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah.
With only four tournaments remaining before the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final, and significant moves made in the rankings by the likes of Johnston and Murray, the competition is set to turn red-hot down the home stretch.