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Dubai Desert Classic, an even more enticing line-up than in Abu Dhabi – Golf Planète

The oldest tournament of the DP World Tour in the Middle East (first edition in 1989) changes status this week. Important stage of the European circuit, here it is now stamped Rolex Series. Seven French are currently at the start in the company of Collin Morikawa, world No. 2, and ten of the twelve European players of the last Ryder Cup.

By Lionel Vella

The plateau of theAbu Dhabi HSBC Championship last week was already very high. The one offered between Thursday and Sunday at theEmirates Golf Club Dubai for this Dubai Desert Classic stamped for the first time Rolex Series is even more enticing.

First American winner of the Race last November on the Jumeirah Golf Estates from Dubai, Collin Morikawa continues its second consecutive week in the United Arab Emirates. It didn’t really go as the current world No. 2 in Abu Dhabi wanted. Never in the game for the win, saved in extremis by a cut set at +3, the last winner of The Open in July at Royal St. George’s settled for a very anecdotal 62nd place finish, with three cards over par. To forget !

Tee times for the first two rounds of the Dubai Desert Classic

Suffice to say that the Californian of Japanese origin cannot stay on such a ” failure “. It will be scrutinized very closely from Thursday on the Maljis Race (par 72 of 6,793 yards). As Rory McIlroyon alternating current a few days ago on the Yas Links Marina from Abu Dhabi.

The Northern Irishman, winner of the Dubai Desert Classic in 2009 and 2015, finished twelfth despite an impressive last stand on Sunday (-6 after 13 holes before falling into line at the end of the game with three bogeys in his last five holes).

In the wake of the Briton, there are nine other players who have defended the colors of the European team of RyderCup at Whistling Straits (Wisconsin) last September like the English Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulterthe Norwegian Viktor Hovlandthe Austrian Bernd Wiesberger and the Irish Shane Lowry. Without forgetting of course two former winners here in Dubai such as the defending champion, the Englishman Paul Caseyor the Spanish Sergio Garcia (in 2017). Alone Matthew Fitzpatrick and Jon Rahm are missing!

Seven French people are also involved in this second Rolex Series of the season (8 million dollars in prize money). Superb fourth in Abu Dhabi, Victor Dubuisson intends to confirm on a course where it has paradoxically never shone. In seven appearances, the Cannes native has only made the cut twice, never finishing in the top 30 (31st in 2011).

Not having made the cut in Abu Dhabi, Alexander Levy is however the most experienced of the tricolor clan to best tackle the Maljis Course. Present constantly since the 2014 edition, the Varois finished 4th in 2018 and 9th last year, failing only twice (in 2019 and 2020). He was also absent last weekend, Antoine Rozner had signed for his debut in Dubai a nice 9th place in 2021, with in particular four cards under par.

Victor Perez and Romain Langasque, respectively 58th and 12th in Abu Dhabi, are competing in their fourth Dubai Desert Classic. The Tarbais had taken 16th place in 2020 while the Azurean did not do better than a top 20 (20th) in 2019.

Matthieu Pavon, awaiting PCR results on Wednesday evening

Having chosen to stay at home in Lyon due to a positive Covid test which took place ten days beforehand, Julian Warrior (32nd in 2020, missed cut in 2021) launches its season this week. He also tested positive, but in Abu Dhabi the day before the tournament, Matthew Pavon is currently in the field but must await the results of the PCR tests which will only fall on Wednesday evening. If the Bordelais (five participations in Dubai between 2017 and 2021) is still positive, he will have to respect his isolation until Sunday, which would de facto eliminate him from this 2022 edition of the Dubai Desert Classic.

A field which should therefore evolve further by Thursday morning. An embarrassing situation, obviously linked to the Covid, which could, perhaps, allow Julian Brown and Frederic Lacroixpresent in Abu Dhabi but for the moment only 5th and 6th reserve, to enter this event very richly endowed.

Photo: Getty Images

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