The European Tour stays in the desert this week as the players contest the 22nd edition of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at Doha GC.
Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Leaderboard, Preview, TV Times
The European Tour remains in the Middle East this week for the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at Doha Golf Club. 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie, and 2018 Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn are on the start sheet.
The first Qatar Masters was won by Andrew Coltart back in 1998. Since then the event has produced some notable champions. In 1999 Paul Lawrie was a winner here before going on to claim the Open Championship that summer at Carnoustie. He won again in 2012. Tony Johnstone secured his final European Tour victory here in 2001.
Adam Scott has twice been a winner, in 2002 then again in 2008. Swedish players have also enjoyed some success at Doha – Joakim Haegmann won the event in 2004, Henrik Stenson lifted the trophy in 2006 while Robert Karlsson triumphed in 2010. Chris Wood won in 2013 and Sergio Garcia in 2014. Branden Grace won back to back in 2015 and 2016 and, in 2017, Jeunghun Wang of South Korea came through a playoff against Joakim Lagergren and Jaco Van Zyl. Last year, Eddie Pepperell fired a final round 70 to finish on a four-round total of 18-under-par, one clear of Oliver Fisher.
Pepperell isn’t in Doha to defend the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters but a strong field has assembled that includes last week’s winner in Oman Kurt Kitayama, 2018 runner-up Oliver Fisher, former winner Chris Wood and Belgian duo of Thomas Pieters and Thomas Detry.
2018 Open Silver Medal winner Sam Locke of Scotland will be looking to make the most of an invitation to play in an event his mentor Paul Lawrie has won twice. Another in Paul’s stable, David Law, will be aiming for a second European Tour win of the season.
Like many of the courses in this part of the world, the layout at Doha GC is a Peter Harradine design. Opened for play in 1994, water comes into play on six holes and natural outcrops of rock are also a feature.
The weather looks set fair – not too hot with only a mild breeze for the players to contend with.
Venue: Doha GC, Doha, Qatar
Date: Mar 7-10
Course stats: par 72, 7,400 yards
Defending champion: Eddie Pepperell (-18)
How to watch the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters
Thursday 7 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 7.30am
Friday 8 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 7.30am
Saturday 9 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 9am
Sunday 10 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 9am
Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters?
Players to watch:
Thomas Pieters – He’s on solid form right now and is moving in the right direction towards victory. He was tied sixth in Oman last week.
Aaaron Rai – The Englishman won in Hong Kong at the end of last year and hasn’t missed a cut on the European Tour since then. He’s currently 11th on the Race to Dubai standings.
Jordan Smith – Another man who hasn’t missed a cut on the European Tour this year. Since last season’s DP World Tour Championship, he’s racked up over €160,000 in prize money in just five starts.
Key hole: 16th. At just 307 yards it’s eminently driveable for most players in the field. But, it’s a small and awkward target with a large rock guarding the front of the green. Expect to see some unpredictable bounces off that outcrop as players go for the carry and fall just short.
Skills required: Finishing strongly. The last three holes are: A driveable par 4, a short par 3 then a reachable par 5. The 16th generally ranks the easiest hole on the course and the 18th the second easiest.