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Wednesday, 01 February 2017
Henrik Stenson  (Getty Images)
Henrik Stenson (Getty Images)

Henrik Stenson returns to a happy hunting ground this week hopeful that familiarity will breed more success at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

The Swede lived in Dubai for a number of years before leaving for the United States in 2012 and has a brilliant record in the desert, winning this event in 2007, the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai in 2013 and 2014 and the Commercialbank Qatar Masters in 2006.

Those make up four of his 11 European Tour wins and he also has a further five top tens at Emirates Golf Club, including finishing sixth here in 2016.

Last season was a career year for Stenson as he won a first Major Championship at The Open en route to a second Race to Dubai title and with six consecutive top tens following that victory at Royal Troon, he is full of confidence.

"I think it's obviously a golf course that suits my game," he said. "I won here in 2007 and had some other good finishes.

"You've got to hit the fairways most of the time if you don't like playing off the sand. So hitting fairways, that's something I normally do pretty well. Position yourself on the greens and then you've got to roll it in.

"I think also having had Dubai as my base for ten years, I'm very familiar with the golf course. I've played it many, many times and just the feel of being home again, seeing the familiar faces, it's always a great start-up for me in the season.

"Good practice, good weather, good food. There's a lot of positives coming here to the Middle East and starting off the year.

"It's definitely one of my favourite courses to play, one of the courses in the world that I feel the most comfortable at."

Stenson began his season with a 64 in the first round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after admitting he had practised little in the off-season, and he is confident his game is in a good place.

It's definitely one of my favourite courses to play, one of the courses in the world that I feel the most comfortable at - Henrik Stenson

"Since then, I've had some time to work on my game," he said. "I've had parts of my team down here for a good few days so I'm happy.

"It's always a work-in-progress with the game, as you know. It's always something to try and improve on and get better, so I've had a couple of good days' work and it's heading in the right direction.

"I'm really happy with where I'm at with my game at the moment."

Stenson's Claret Jug and Race to Dubai trophy were joined by the Dallah Trophy and his Olympic Men's Golf Competition Silver Medal by the first tee at Emirates GC, and the 40 year old was glad to be reminded of his stellar 2016.

"It's very nice to see those achievements together with the Dubai Desert Classic trophy from 2007," he said. "It just gives you a quick moment to reflect on a great year and so far a great career. I'm very pleased with what I've managed to accomplish."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1GARCIA, SergioESP18-19
2STENSON, HenrikSWE18-16
T3JENSEN, LasseDEN18-14
T3HATTON, TyrrellENG18-14
T5FITZPATRICK, MatthewENG18-12
T5UIHLEIN, PeterUSA18-12

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