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Friday, 19 March 2010
Darren Clarke, winner of the WGC - Andersen Consulting Match Play Championship, moves on to tee-up in the 11th edition of the Dubai Desert Classic at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club where Colin Montgomerie, winner of the Volvo Order of Merit for the past seven seasons, makes his first appearance this year in a strokeplay event.

Montgomerie, whose 2000 campaign began last week after a ten-week break, won the title in 1996 at the Emirates when he produced the Canon Shot of the Year, hitting a driver from the final fairway to carry the ball 225-yards over water to the heart of the green to secure the title.

Clarke and Montgomerie are joined by a galaxy of stars including Ryder Cup team-mates Miguel Angel Jiménez and Open Champion Paul Lawrie. Seve Ballesteros, forced to withdraw from the Algarve Portuguese Open with a neck injury, tees up for the first time on the 2000 European Tour International Schedule.

As well as Ballesteros and Lawrie, the field boasts two other Open Champions in Justin Leonard and Mark O'Meara, winners in 1997 and 1998 respectively.
Thomas Björn, who finished runner-up in the Heineken Classic but then withdrew from the Greg Norman Holden International after also suffering from recurrence of a neck injury, is fit again and ready to take on the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, his home course.

England's David Howell will defend the title following his emphatic maiden European Tour victory 12 months ago. Howell led from the second round and finished four strokes ahead of Lee Westwood with rounds of 69, 68, 71 and 67 for a 13-under-par total of 275.

Of this year's champions, Mathias Grönberg, Gary Orr, Anthony Wall and Yeh Wie-Tze, who has joined the European Tour following his victory in the Benson and Hedges Malaysian Open, are all teeing up.

The Dubai Desert Classic is being played at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club for the second successive year. The magnificent clubhouse - its design mirroring the sails of the traditional Arab dhow, became an instant landmark when it opened in 1993.

With narrow fairways and water in abundance, precision is the key. Water features on 11 holes with the 17th and 18th, lying alongside the Creek, providing a memorable finish. Designed by American Karl Litten, architect of the Emirates Club, the course is essentially tropical and forms the centrepiece of a sport and leisure complex which also incorporates a marina.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1RIVERO, JoséESP18-7
2MARTIN, Miguel AngelESP18-5
3JOHNSTONE, TonyZIM18-4
4ROMERO, EduardoARG18-1
5LUNA, SantiagoESP186
6SMYTH, DesIRL187
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