Henrik Stenson is looking to continue his love affair with Dubai at this week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
The Swede spent a decade residing in the emirate and won this event in 2007, as well as claiming the DP World Tour Championship in 2013 and 2014.
A runner-up finish at the Nedbank Golf Challenge and a tie for third at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship have positioned Stenson as the early front-runner in the 2016 Race to Dubai, despite undergoing knee surgery at the end of last year, and the 39 year old is keen to extend his impressive record in the Middle East.
“The knee is still attached; it's moving forward and I'm lifting the leg,” joked Stenson, who has finished outside the top 30 only once in his last ten visits to Emirates Golf Club.
“It's a great week. I made Dubai my home for almost ten years. It's always nice to be back with a lot of familiar faces, a familiar golf course, which I have some great memories from, especially the win back in 2007, of course.”
“The course is in good shape. The putting green was excellent. I expect to have a good championship on a great golf course.”
Stenson missed last week’s Commercial Bank Qatar Masters for the first time in 15 years to rest his knee, but the World Number Six was pleased with his first run-out of the year in Abu Dhabi a fortnight ago.
“The previous two times I missed the cut in Abu Dhabi, which is never good fun, so I was very pleased with the week, both on the results side and how I played.
“I’m happy with the way things were going early doors and hopefully I can bring that into this week, too.”
Another player hoping to prove the Majlis course suits his game is Stenson’s Ryder Cup team-mate Graeme McDowell.
The Northern Irishman turned around a disappointing 2015 campaign with a win in Mexico in November, and is now hoping to build on last season’s top-ten finish here.
“It’s great to be back here,” he said. “I love coming to this golf course.
“I think it's evolved a lot over the years; the golf course really has changed. This is the first time we've been playing with these run-offs, and I've never seen the golf course as fast and as fiery as it is this year.
“I think it's a great set-up for my type of game. You really have to drive the ball well here to keep it in the fairway and give yourself a chance to attack these greens, which are about as good as you'll ever see.”
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