Chris Williams was grateful to have the opportunity last year of making golfing history in winning the inaugural Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq. Now he’s back in the UAE determined to successfully defend his hard-earned title when play gets underway on Thursday.
“It was a good feeling winning last year and it was something special to create history – winning the first European Tour-sanctioned event ever held on a nine hole golf course,” said the South African, adding, “and it’s always good to win a play-off. You never know what might happen when you’re playing extra holes.”
Williams’ second win as a Senior was the stepping stone to his most successful Senior season since 2010 and he went on to finish runner-up behind American Clark Dennis on the 2017 Order of Merit. “It was a unique event and a completely new experience to play a Tour event on a nine-hole course, but I guess in playing nine holes twice I got to know the course a little better than an 18-hole layout,” said Williams.
“I only have good things to say about the tournament. The course was in immaculate condition – one of the best prepared courses we played on all year; the hospitality was magnificent; the food was excellent; the weather was perfect; the facilities were fantastic and the welcome we received was wonderful - everyone went out of their way to make us feel at home – and we played in front of a good, appreciative crowd who enjoyed the occasion. What more can you ask for?
“Having Staysure as the sponsor of the Senior Tour has certainly elevated the Tour. It’s the first time the Senior Tour has had a sponsor and it has certainly given the Tour more credibility and a more solid financial standing.
“David MacLaren is doing an excellent job as head of the newly named Staysure Tour. He’s a good communicator and he seems to have created an ideal relationship with the players, sponsors and spectators. He appreciates that there is a need to give something back to the sponsors who support the tournaments, particularly in regard to the Pro-Ams.
“There is no sport other than golf where an amateur can play alongside the finest players in the world. Playing in a Pro-Am with one of your heroes is often the most memorable round of golf many amateurs will ever experience. The Pro-Ams are one of the Staysure Tour’s greatest assets.”
Williams is aware that the Tour has always had the reputation of being the ‘Friendly Tour’ but underlines the fact that it is also highly competitive. “As Senior Tour players we get to know each other over the years, unlike the main Tours,” he says. “We see each other just about every week during the season and we make friends over many years. We enjoy the atmosphere and the interaction between players and spectators but there is always a competitive edge to the tournaments.
“We are certainly out here to enjoy ourselves but we are here to win a golf tournament. That’s our focus and that’s our target. It’s an enjoyment to play well and be in contention and it’s most enjoyable to win. When I won in Sharjah last year, in a play-off with Gary Marks, it took a lot of pressure off me and gave me the impetus to have a really good season.
“I’ve been having a good time at home in South Africa over the last few months and I’ve kept fit by practicing almost every day and playing in a few Pro-Ams. I won a Pro-Am just recently so maybe that’s a good omen for me to hold on to my title and retain the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters trophy.”
His Excellency Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), sponsors and co-organisers of the event, said: “Sharjah is globally renowned and respected for its leadership’s embracing vision and patronage to the arts, culture and sports. This is reciprocated by prestigious institutions like the 2018 Staysure Tour season, who want inaugurate a world-class tournament such as this one with the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters.”
He added: “We are certain that the tree-day tee off will exceed expectations, and through such associations Shurooq is determined to make a stronger imprint for Sharjah as a preferred destination for top-tier events on the world map.”
Entry to this year’s Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq, is free of charge.For more information contact the Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club Academy office, Tel: +9716 548 7777 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org