UAE golf round-up: Stacy Lewis to make Dubai Masters debut
Golf fans in the UAE will have a chance to watch the amazing Stacy Lewis in action after the world No2 announced her maiden appearance in this year’s Dubai Ladies Masters.
The 28-year-old Texan stands just five feet five inches tall, but has already acquired the status of a giant of the game with her recent performances, which includes winning the Women’s British Open at St Andrews this year when she birdied the final two holes to win her second Major on the LPGA Tour.
Her remarkable achievement – she was three behind with three to play – at the ‘Home of Golf’ again left the golfing world marvelling in awe at her steely resolve.
But even her two Major victories (2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship apart from the Women’s British Open) pale in comparison with the odds she had to overcome early in her life just to be able to play golf.
At the age of 11, Lewis was diagnosed with scoliosis, an extremely painful condition caused by lateral curvature of the spine. For the next seven years, she spent close to 18 hours a day wearing a back brace. But that did not deter her from following her golfing ambitions.
She earned a golf scholarship to the University of Arkansas, endured a complex surgery to insert a rod and several screws into her back, and then went on to attain her LPGA card.
On March 18 this year, Lewis did what many thought was impossible – she snapped Yani Tseng’s 109- week streak as the world No1 lady professional when she won the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.
For Lewis, who is a brand ambassador for Dubai Ladies Masters title sponsors Omega, the four-week run at No1 was more of a question of “finally getting recognised for playing well” – and not for just for her medical condition.
By finishing second last week in the Safeway Classic, where she did not make a single bogey in the 72 holes, Lewis is again making a charge at Inbee Park’s No1 spot.
With 13 top-10s, including three wins, under her belt in 20 starts on the LPGA Tour this season, Lewis will be looking forward to a glorious finish to the season in Dubai.
“It will be my first visit to Dubai, but I have heard many good things about the city and know the tournament attracts a very strong field each year. With all those top LPGA and LET players in the field, it will be fun to play in Dubai,” said Lewis, who will join defending champion Shanshan Feng of China, the world No8, among others in the Ladies European Tour’s season-finale championship.
A delighted Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi, promoters and organisers of the tournament, said: “We look forwarding to welcoming a player who is a true winner on and off the course. Stacy has demonstrated the strength and determination of the human spirit to keep fighting against the odds.”
Majlis crosses major milestone of million rounds
The golf course that started the green revolution in the Middle East – Majlis at Emirates Golf Club – reached a major milestone recently when the one millionth round of golf was played at the course.
The Majlis course is a result of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and was the first green course in the country when inaugurated in 1988.
Andrew Whitelaw, general manager of Emirates Golf Club, said: “Emirates Golf Club has become an icon in the UAE and one of the city’s most prominent landmarks. Over the past 25 years we have inspired golfers at all levels and set the bar for the growth of the sport in the region.
“Serving one million golfers is another huge milestone – in a year of huge milestones – that we wanted to celebrate with members and guests.”
Verma in fine form but Kumar takes overall honours
Gaurav Verma was in inspired form at the iconic Majlis Course as he won the fourth and final fixture of the Dubai Golf Summer Series with a brilliant effort of 44 points.
One point adrift of Verma and in second place was Emirates Golf Club member Qamar Rasheed with 43 points, while Makoto Tokudomi fired 40 points to clinch third.
The ladies competition was won by Ji Won Bae with 32 points, while junior Kavita Sehmi recorded lowest gross of the day – a 74. The conclusion of the order of merit was a tight contest with just three points separating the top five players.
With 213 different golfers competing over the four events, it was youngster Aryaan Kumar who claimed top prize with 111 points. He signed for 39 points over the Majlis course to combine with a 33 at Dubai Creek and 39 on the Faldo course to win the series by two points. Kabir Nanda and Ishwar Jodha finished second and third.
DPWTC to have free entry for fifth straight year
The speculation that this year’s DP World Tour Championship will have paid entry for the first time in its history have been laid to rest with the organisers once again deciding the European Tour’s season-ending championship will have free access for the fans.
The $8 million tournament, featuring the top-60 players from the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, will be played at the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 14-17.
In addition to the honour of becoming Europe’s No1, the tournament also offers a Race to Dubai Bonus Pool of $3.75m to be divided amongst the top 10 players in the list. Free tickets for the tournament are now available at www. DPWorldTourChampionship.com.