Wednesday, 07 March 2018
Clark Dennis  (Getty Images)
Clark Dennis (Getty Images)
Defending Order of Merit winner Clark Dennis hopes to start his defence of the John Jacobs Trophy in style as he prepares for the first event of the 2018 Staysure Tour season, the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq.

Dennis became the first American to win the John Jacobs Trophy for topping the Order of Merit, finishing ahead of defending Sharjah Senior Golf Masters champion Chris Williams.

With two victories under his belt in 2017, Dennis will hope for further success this year as the former European Senior Tour ushers in a new era after UK-based insurance company Staysure became the first title sponsors of the European over-50s cicrcuit.

“It has been an incredible journey over the last 12 months,” said Dennis. “After finishing tied 19th here last year, I would have never guessed I’d be back in Sharjah as the defending John Jacobs Trophy winner.

“I’m so pleased with how everything has gone. I can’t speak highly enough of the Tour, and I’m glad to be playing again this year.

“Winning more tournaments is certainly in my mind, but you don’t want to get ahead of yourself. I’m hoping to do the same as last year and hopefully the results will come.”

Williams enjoyed his best season on the Staysure Tour since 2010, when he again finished runner-up on the Order of Merit behind Thailand’s Boonchu Ruangkit, kick-starting his season with victory in the United Arab Emirates after defeating Gary Marks in a play-off at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club.

“It’s nice to come back as a defending champion,” the South African said. “You don’t get to do it that often, but when it comes around it’s a fantastic feeling. It’s great to be back here again, and having Staysure as part of the Tour is fantastic as well.

“The course is in great condition, so it’s pretty much the same as last year. It’s playing a little longer, and I’d be surprised if we made it to 13 under par this time. If I do, I think I might win again.

“It is a case of starting afresh this year, but I’ve made a lot of notes from what I did last season. It’s about having a good start, setting you up for a good year and getting the confidence flowing – this game is all about momentum.”

The Sharjah Senior Golf Masters made history in 2017 as the first ever European Tour event to be played on a nine-hole golf course. Players completed two loops of the Peter Harradine-designed course, playing from different tees on the ‘back’ nine.

In 2017, just the par three and par five holes utilised different tees, but Tournament Director Simon Higginbottom will select different tees for all but the first/tenth holes for the 2018 edition.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1WIRATCHANT, ThawornTHA18-12
T2DENNIS, ClarkUSA18-12
T2FOWLER, PeterAUS18-12
4KINGSTON, JamesRSA18-8
T5ORR, GarySCO18-6
T5MOLINA, MauricioARG18-6

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