An eclectic assortment of golfers from the Asian Tour, the European Tour and the MENA Golf Tour will be aiming to have a crack at the inaugural DUBAi Open title in a ground-breaking week that promises to create new storylines in the region’s golfing history.
Fresh from posting fourth at last week’s Thailand Golf Championship, Tommy Fleetwood needs to finish at least solo 16th to break into the top-50 in the world as the Englishman joins compatriots Matt Fitzpatrick and David Howell and Northern Ireland’s major champion Darren Clarke in a 114-strong field that includes four amateurs.
“This is the last event of the whole year of any tour. So I just need a good result. It’s keeping me occupied trying to get into that top-50. It would be great to do it this week,” said Fleetwood.
“But the hard thing is just trying to keep it out of my head and play golf like I normally would. We will see how well I can cope with that this week.”
The Thai duo of Prom Meesawat and Thaworn Wiratchant will spearhead the Asian challenge along with the talented Indian trio of Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa, but, led by England’s Joshua White and Zane Scotland, MENA Golf Tour players could emerge as the surprise package of the tournament.
White, the 2014 MENA Golf Tour champion, and Scotland, an eight-time winner on the tour, are among 24 MENA Golf Tour players who have made it to the Dubai’s newest event following their impressive showing in the 2014 season. Included in the list are many of the region’s home players led by Ahmed Marjane Faycal Serghini and Younes El Hassani, all of Morocco.
They are genuinely excited at the prospect of playing in the DUBAi Open, the Asian Tour’s final event of 2014, as it provides them with an opportunity to earn precious World Ranking Points.
“Being able to play in an Asian Tour event like this one is a great way to get ranking points and to qualify for the Olympics, hopefully. Playing in the Olympics is the dream of every Moroccan golfer. If we start getting World Rankings Points on the MENA Golf Tour, it would be the best thing,” said Serghini.
“It is just a matter of time before we see an Arab player playing on one of the main tours. I’m pretty sure about it. If you ask me to guess a time frame, I would say, four years for the European Tour and two for the Challenge Tour.
“I congratulate golf in DUBAi on bringing yet another new tournament to Dubai and it will be fun to play on a layout designed by Ernie,” said Serghini, who boasts three runner-up places on the MENA Golf Tour.
Thailand’s Meesawat, who ended an eight-year title drought with a victory in Taipei in September, is also looking forward to the newest tournament on the Asian Tour. “It has been a good season for me and I’m going to try my best in Dubai. I’ve played in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic before and it’s a nice place to visit. I heard the weather is going to be cooler this time of the year and it’ll be good to have our last event there. “I’ve been playing well this season and I look forward to ending the year with a good result in Dubai.”
Other top Asian Tour stars include this season’s winners Mardan Mamat of Singapore, Australian Marcus Both, Englishman Steve Lewton, India’s S.S.P. Chowrasia and Rashid Khan, who is one of the season’s revelations following two victories this year in India and Thailand.
The DUBAi Open is promoted and organised by golf in DUBAi.