The stars of the European Senior Tour will be out in force for the first edition of the Sharjah Golf Masters presented by Shurooq at Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club from March 16-18.
It will be the first time a Senior Tour event has been held in the United Arab Emirates since 2000, and will be the fifth European Tour event held in the country this year, alongside three main European Tour events and also the European Challenge Tour’s event in Ras-Al Khaimah.
It is a landmark moment for the Emirate of Sharjah, however, which will play host to its first professional golf competition in its history.
Former Ryder Cup Captain, and two-time Senior Tour winner, Mark James won the inaugural European Tour event held in the UAE in 1989.
The Englishman will be looking to use all of his knowledge of the UAE from that victory as countryman Paul Broadhurst, winner of the Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex and 2016 John Jacobs Trophy winner, will begin his defence of the Order of Merit title in the UAE against stiff competition from the Senior Tour’s finest.Mark James won the inaugural Dubai Desert Classic in 1989
“I am greatly looking forward to starting my defence of the John Jacobs Trophy in Sharjah in March," said Broadhurst.
I have always enjoyed playing in the United Arab Emirates, and it’s great that the Senior Tour golfers now have a chance to return to a country where a number of us will have very fond memories.”
Northern Ireland’s Ronan Rafferty, winner of the European Tour Order of Merit in 1989, will go in search of a maiden Senior Tour title, adding to the seven he won on the European Tour between 1989 and 1993.
Also confirmed are Barry Lane, winner of the MCB Tour Championship, the final event of the 2016 season, and 2016 Senior Tour Rookie of the Year Magnus P Atlevi.
Atlevi, Broadhurst and Lane all finished inside the top six of the first Dubai Desert Classic in 1989.
The following year, 1987 Ryder Cup hero Eamonn Darcy won the second edition of the Dubai Desert Classic, and two-time Ryder Cup player and vice captain Des Smyth finished in a tie for third – the Irishmen have more than 100 Senior Tour appearances between them.
David Gilford and Steven Richardson, who made their Senior Tour debuts in 2015 and 2016 respectively, finished fifth and sixth in 1990; 2011 John Jacobs Trophy winner, and five-time Senior Tour winner, Peter Fowler took a share of sixth.