Sunday, 16 January 2011

Miguel Angel Jiménez will be aiming to become the first back-to-back winner of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic when he returns to defend his title in a star-studded field, headed by the world's top players Lee Westwood and Tiger Woods, at the Emirates Golf Club in February.

Since the inception of the tournament in 1989, no player has won the title twice in a row though South Africa's Ernie Els (1994, 2002 and 2005) and Woods (2006 and 2008) have inscribed their names on the glittering trophy more than once.

The Spaniard defeated Westwood, now the world's number one player, at the third extra hole to clinch the 2010 Omega Dubai Desert Classic after the pair topped the leaderboard at 11 under par, one shot clear of Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee.

Further victories followed in the Alstom Open de France and the Omega European Masters as the popular Jiménez rounded off a successful 2010 season, confirming his credentials as one of the game's most consistent players. And he is confident of keeping the momentum going this year as well.

"Well, my goals for 2011 will be the same as every year. Of course, I have to continue to work hard on the golf course, but as always I will make sure that I enjoy myself off the course too. That is what I try to do all the time as it is so important in my opinion to have a balance if your life," said Jiménez, who at 46 became the second oldest player to win on the circuit since Mark O'Meara prevailed in Dubai in 2004 at the age of 47.

"With age, I seem to get better and better, at least I hope so!" said Jiménez. "I feel comfortable on the golf course and that to me is one of the most important things. I have just turned 47 but I'm still healthy and strong and hopefully I can continue to be competitive against the young, talented players out there" said Jiménez, who was also a key member of the Ryder Cup-winning European squad.

"And if you feel relaxed and focused on your game, then you can win," said the pony-tailed Spaniard, who has won 11 of his 18 after titles since turning 40.

Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi, the promoters and organisers of the European Tour event, starting from February 7 to 13, said: "Miguel is an extremely popular player and can light up any tournament with his infinite energy on the course. He is certainly one of the true characters on Tour.

"We look forward to welcoming him in Dubai and hope he can add another title to his tally - and maybe another iconic golf shot to the game's history," he said referring to his amazing shot when he hit the ball off the wall to reach the green on the 17th during his third round of The Open at St Andrews last year.

'golf in DUBAi' is backed by Omega as the title sponsor and Dubal (Dubai Aluminium) as the sponsor. The co-sponsors are: CNN, Gulf News, Emirates Airline, Emirates NBD, Jumeirah, Mercedes-Benz and wasl while Dubai Duty Free, Carpetland and Motivate are the Patrons in golf in DUBAi's drive to showcase the emirate's vibrant golfing scene to a worldwide audience.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1SCHWARTZEL, CharlRSA18-19
2MULROY, GarthRSA18-15
3AIKEN, ThomasRSA18-14
4ELSON, JamieENG18-13
5GONNET, Jean-BaptisteFRA18-12
6JAMIESON, ScottSCO18-11
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