The European Tour remains in the United Arab Emirates this week, as Victorian Lucas Herbert prepares to defend his maiden Tour title at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Lucas Herbert shot nine-under-par 279 and defeated South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout in extra holes last year to claim his first European Tour title.
COURSE: The Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club opened in 1988 and was the first 18-hole grass golf course in the Middle East. The layout weaves its way through the desert and was designed by Karl Litten. It features large greens, numerous lakes and is framed by tall desert dunes. It will play to 6,789 metres (par-72) this week.
PLAYERS TO WATCH …
Bendigo-born Lucas Herbert won his first European Tour title here last year, having started the final round six shots off the lead.
The Commonwealth Golf Club product birdied the final two holes to tie Christiaan Bezuidenhout – on nine under for the tournament – and defeated the South African on the second play-off hole.
“The last 10 minutes feel like I’ve been dreaming. It’s so weird. It’s awesome. It’s just the best thing ever. It is so good,” Herbert said.
The 25-year-old looks in decent enough form to suggest he could once again find himself in contention on The Majlis Course, sharing 25th place in Abu Dhabi last week. Herbert opened his first event of 2021 with two rounds of 68, before fading with weekend rounds of 74 and 73.
RIGHT: Herbert defeated Bezuidenhout in a play-off last year. PHOTO: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images.
Tyrrell Hatton bracketed his disappointing missed cut at The Masters last November with his victory at Wentworth and a share of eighth place at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
The Englishman returned to action last week – following his five-week Christmas break – and immediately won his sixth European Tour title at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Hatton, who returns to Dubai ranked a career-high fifth in the world rankings, didn’t play here in 2020, however his four most recent efforts have produced some pretty impressive results: T38 (2019), 3rd (’18), T3 (’17) and T8 (’16).
72-HOLE RECORD: American Bryson DeChambeau won his first European Tour title here in 2019, firing 24-under-par 264 to defeat Englishman Matt Wallace by seven shots.
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: Lucas Herbert (2020) and Richard Green (1997).
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Scott Hend, Lucas Herbert, Min Woo Lee, Wade Ormsby and Jason Scrivener.
Round 1: Thursday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 3pm-8pm & 10:30pm – 12:30am)
Round 2: Friday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 6:30pm – 12am)
Round 3: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 7:30pm – 12am)
Round 4: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 7:30pm – 12am)
*AEDT, check local guides