A strong field of 138 golfers is set to vie for honours at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters 2024, which tees off at the picturesque Doha Golf Club today.
The prestigious tournament being hosted by the Qatar Golf Association since 1998 has once again drew a star-studded line-up that includes former winners Ewen Ferguson, Antoine Rozner, and Jorge Campillo.
Qatar’s Saleh Al Kaabi and Ali Al Shahrani are also hoping for a strong performance in the event, offering total prize money of $2.5m including $425,000 for the winner.
Meanwhile, Dylan Frittelli is eyeing the title, hoping to extend South Africa’s good record in the Qatar Masters.
The event witnessed South Africans Darren Fichardt (2003), Ernie Els (2005), Retief Goosen (2007), Branden Grace (2015 & ‘16) and Justin Harding (2019) celebrating their victories on six occasions.
“I remember watching as a kid this tournament. [Seeing] Retief [Goosen], Ernie [Els] do well,” said Frittelli.
“I still remember Retief eagling the last hole [to win in 2017, he had a putt from the fringe early morning on a Sunday sometime when I was probably 12-13 years old. So, good memories of seeing that stuff on TV. I don’t know if there is something in the course conditioning that favours South Africans in some way. We have got a lot of good players from our country anyway so hopefully one of us wins this week.”
Australia’s Harrison Endycott, who is concluding a two-event stretch in the Middle East on the DP World Tour in Doha, was also hoping for a good show.
“I’m really excited for this year, I’m going to see all new places that I haven’t seen before and go back to some places that I have seen. Start of the year, you’re trying to neutralise out and build all the foundations. I feel like it’s in a good spot, it’s not far away and I’m looking forward to playing this week in Qatar,” he said.
Among the contestants is America’s James Nicholas, who is making his debut at the DP World Tour.
“I think nerves are always good, happy nerves, but I’m excited to get the season started,” said Nicholas.
“Walking into the locker room for the first time, looking at the past champions of this event, almost every single one of them are great players who have done incredible things over their careers,” added Nicholas, who also reached the Final Stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School at the end of last year.
While, last year’s winner Sami Valimaki is not taking part in the event, the likes of Pablo Larrazabal, Rasmus Hojgaard, and Yannik Paul are among the contenders to lift the iconic Mother of Pearl trophy on Sunday.