News All Articles
Nicolai Højgaard ready for tough Ras Al Khaimah defence

Nicolai Højgaard ready for tough Ras Al Khaimah defence

Nicolai Højgaard is looking forward to a different test as he prepares to defend his title at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship.

The Dane stormed to victory at 24 under last season, matching his lowest DP World Tour score with a 64 in round three, an eight under effort that is his lowest round to par.

But with thicker rough this season at the notoriously narrow Al Hamra Golf Club, the 21-year-old is not expecting those sort of scores again, although he is still looking forward to the challenge.

"I don’t think it will be minus 24 this year," he said. "I still think someone will shoot a low score but I don’t think it will get to 24. My guess would be 18, maybe 20.

"It’s definitely playing trickier. The fairways are tighter, rough is a bit up. You can’t really see it when you’re standing on the tee box but it’s tricky. The course set-up is good.

"I’ve been really looking forward to getting back to Ras Al Khaimah. We’ve had some great events to start the year but I’ve been looking forward to getting back to RAK and playing this course again.

"I’ve seen a few changes to the course, makes it a bit more interesting and tougher. I get good memories when I’m out on the course. It was good to play 18 today and relive the moments we had. Will be trying to get some birdies the next few days."

A two-time winner on the DP World Tour, Højgaard finished eighth in the Rankings in 2021, although his win here was his only top ten last season.

A pair of top tens so far and a starring role in Continental Europe's Hero Cup victory - where he claimed 3½ points from four - have seen him regain his fine form in 2023, and Højgaard is looking forward to what the year may bring.

"I have a few goals for the year, but it all comes down to the everyday things - it sounds so boring - but it’s the everyday work you put in to achieve those goals," he said. 

"I have a lot of goals, obviously want to qualify for the Majors. But first I want to play some good work to start the year. 

"In the end, I’ve got a lot of years in front of me. Just keep the focus where it should be, on being present and focusing on the given situation you are facing."

Read next