Hatton shifts focus to Dubai Desert Classic after victory at Abu Dhabi Golf Championship - GulfToday

Hatton shifts focus to Dubai Desert Classic after victory at Abu Dhabi Golf Championship

Tyrrell Hatton

Tyrrell Hatton looks to carry the winning momentum into the Dubai Desert Classic.

English Ryder Cup pair Tyrrell Hatton and Justin Rose are fully focused on the task in hand at this week’s Dubai Desert Classic -- with Rose making his first appearance since 2009 and Hatton looking to make up for lost time having missed last year’s event through injury.

Hatton arrives full of confidence having clinched his sixth European Tour title last week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in superb fashion with a four-stroke win over Jason Scrivener, moving up to a career-high 5th in the Official World Golf Ranking in the process.

“It’s nice to be back here in Dubai, I missed the event last year because I was still recovering from wrist surgery,” said Hatton, who won the BMW PGA Championship in October.

“I’ve had some good finishes in the past and I’m hoping I can have another good week this week.

“My win last week still feels a little bit surreal, alongside where I’ve moved up to in the World Rankings. I played the Pro-Am today and the game feels good, so we’ll see how we go this week.” Hatton had appeared in the previous six editions of the Dubai Desert Classic before being forced to sit out last year, whereas Rose makes a long-awaited return to Emirates Golf Club and finds himself in need of updating his old yardage book.

“It was 2009 when I last played and that was Rory McIlroy’s first European Tour win - I finished second, and I’m glad I could help him along his way,” laughed Rose, winner of the 2013 US Open and veteran of five Ryder Cups.

“The golf course has come back to me in practice, I had my old yardage book and it’s changed a little bit, the greens have gotten a bit smaller through the years, they’ve crept in a little, so we’ve probably lost a few pin placements. Strategy-wise that probably makes the middle of the green the acceptable play on a lot of holes.

“I always find the Middle East a brilliant place to start the season. You get a good read on your game, the golf courses are playable, in good shape and you generally expect good weather.”

The pair take their place among an illustrious field for this year’s Dubai Desert Classic with the likes of Sergio Garcia, Collin Morikawa, Lee Westwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter all set to tee it up when play gets underway on Thursday.

Attendance at the event is for invited guests only but the action will be beamed to a worldwide audience on mainstream broadcast sports networks and highlights and exclusive content will be shared on the Dubai Desert Classic social media channels.

Meanwhile, some of the most promising professionals and amateurs from around the world have been invited to compete against a field full of superstars at the Dubai Desert Classic.

Emerging Japanese star Takumi Kanaya will be joined by talented South Africans Garrick Higgo and Jayden Schaper, Scotland’s Connor Syme, Karim El Hali of Morocco and eye-catching amateurs Shergo Al Kurdi of Jordan and Spain’s Eduard Rousaud, all hoping to make their mark in the prestigious ‘Major of the Middle East.’

Also appearing will be former Emirates golf Club member - and former Club Champion - Sebastian Heisele of Germany, who will be making his second appearance in the tournament, looking to put his local knowledge to good use.

Kanaya turned professional in October last year after a successful amateur career and quickly hit the headlines the following month, winning in just his second start as a pro at the Dunlop Phoenix Open in his homeland.

The 22-year-old had previously won on the Japan golf Tour as an amateur in 2019 and was also victorious at the 2018 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, which earned him a place in the field for the following year’s Masters Tournament.

“I’m honoured to have been given an invitation to play the Dubai Desert Classic this year,” said Kanaya, who turned professional having won the 2020 Mark H McCormack Medal as the leading men’s player in the World Amateur golf Ranking.

“This event is famous in the world of golf and many great names have won here in the past. I know it is a title that all the players want to win and I would love to get in contention with a chance to win it on my European Tour debut.”

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