Senior Stars set for Sharjah Showdown

Barry Lane poses with the trophy after winning the season ending 2016 MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius.

While the dust has settled on the Desert Swing for another year, world-class professional golf will once again take centre stage in the UAE  as a host of past Ryder Cup legends compete in the inaugural Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq starting today until Saturday (March 18).

The nine-hole course at Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club holds a European Tour event for the first time and the Tour is making its first stop in the UAE since 2000 in Abu Dhabi as no fewer than nine former Ryder Cup stars tee it up.

The likes of Des Smyth, Ronan Rafferty, Jose Rivero, Gordon J. Brand, Steven Richardson, Gordon Brand Jnr, Philip Walton, Costantino Rocca and Barry Lane all played their part as past members of Team Europe and helped make the Ryder Cup the global attraction it is today.

The European Senior Tour players are renowned for their friendly, outgoing approach to the game and their interaction with their playing partners and the galleries, yet when their names are announced on the first tee they are as competitive as they ever were.

Also in the field is two-time Senior Major winner Roger Chapman, former Order of Merit winners Peter Fowler and Paul Wesselingh and Welshman Stephen Dodd, who is a former World Cup of Golf winner back in 2005.

Indeed, all the winners from last year’s European Senior Tour international schedule are in the field, giving this a ‘Champion of Champions’ feel as the 2017 season opener, and all of the top 20 players on last year’s Order of Merit will be teeing it up.

England’s Paul Broadhurst who claimed the Senior Open Championship and Order of Merit title in his first full season on the over-50s circuit last year, has also committed to compete in the event which offers a prize fund of $425,000 with $63,750 going to the winner.

Not only are the stars of the Senior game on show, but local players Ramli Sulaiman (SG&SC), Rene Larsen (JGE) and John Mills will also be in the field having come through the amateur and professional qualifying events.

Links with the past – helping The Ryder Cup grow

A lot of the talk about golf today is concerned with growing the game, and the nine Ryder Cup players who feature at this month’s Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq have their own place in history in helping transform the biennial Europe versus the USA tournament from an American exhibition match into a global phenomenon. Let’s look back on some of their memorable moments:

Walton’s winning moment
The 1995 Ryder Cup was as close and as exciting as any in recent years. Trailing 9-7 going into the final day singles at the leafy Oak Hill CC in New York, Europe fought back to win, and a heroic Philip Walton etched his name into the record books by winning the final hole for a 1-up win over Jay Haas to spark wild celebrations as Europe triumphed 14½– 13½.

Aces high for Rocca
Costantino Rocca has had many unforgettable encounters in his storied career – his monster putt from the Valley of Sin after a duffed chip shot to force a play-off with John Daly at The Open at St Andrews in 1995 is rightly or wrongly the No.1 moment on his highlight reel. But he has Ryder Cup pedigree and in 1995 he became only the third player to record an ace during the matches. Two years later he defeated rising star Tiger Woods 4&2 at Valderrama to help seal a famous European victory.

 

Sharjah’s Ryder Cup heroes ‘tale of the tape’

Name Appearances Points
Des Smyth 2 apps 2 points
Ronan Rafferty 1 apps 1 points
Jose Rivero 2 apps 2 points
Gordon J Brand 1 apps 0 points
Steven Richardson 1 apps 2 points
Gordon Brand Jnr 2 apps 2.5 points
Philip Walton 1 apps 1 points
Costantino Rocca 3 apps 6 points
Barry Lane 1 apps 0 points
Paul Broadhurst 1 apps 2 points

Total No. Ryder Cup appearances: 15

Total No. Ryder Cup points: 36.5

 

David MacLaren

Head of the European Senior Tour

“We are all very excited about the inaugural Sharjah Senior Golf Masters and would like to extend our grateful thanks to Shurooq for enabling our very first event in Sharjah to see the light of day. Both the setting and a fantastic field of top class golfers will gurantee a great spectacle, as will the quality of our host venue, Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club. We believe that this may be the very first time that a full European Tour event of any description has been played over a nine-hole layout and this is sure to add a different and exciting dimension to a tournament that we would urge all local golf fans to support.”

 

 


FREE ENTRY FOR ALL

What is the event? The opening tournament of the 2017 European Senior Tour season.

When: March 16 – 18

Where: Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club, Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi Street, Sharjah.

For more information go to: www.golfandshootingshj.com or www.st.golf/Sharjah

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