Rikuya Hoshino became the fourth Japanese winner in DP World Tour history at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Here is everything you need to know from the International Swing’s final event in the Middle East.
Hoshino claims first DP World Tour title in Doha
After runner-up finishes in his first two starts of the season in Australia at the tail end of last year during the Opening Swing, Rikuya Hoshino claimed his maiden DP World Tour title at Doha Golf Club.
A closing 68, including two birdies in his final three holes, saw the Japanese third round co-leader claim a one-shot victory over the impressive Ugo Coussaud, with Scott Jamieson a shot further back after an excellent 65.
The 27-year-old Hoshino, who earns $425,000, is the first Japanese winner of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters since its inception in 1998.
He also follows Isao Aoki, Hideki Matsuyama and 2023 Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Ryo Hisatsune as the fourth player from his country to win on the DP World Tour.
Hoshino, a six-time winner in his homeland on the Japan Golf Tour, climbs to second on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex, up 68 places to sixth on the International Swing, and to 75th on the Official World Golf Ranking.
“I'm honoured to win at this wonderful tournament,” he said before lifting the Mother of Pearl trophy. “I was second at the last two Australian tournaments so I'm so happy to finally win.
“Of course I was nervous but I just tried to keep enjoying it.”
Coussaud latest of Challenge Tour graduates to impress
France’s Coussaud secured his full playing privileges on the DP World Tour for the 2024 Race to Dubai by finishing fourth on the European Challenge Tour’s Road to Mallorca Rankings.
After a steady if not spectacular start to his rookie season on golf’s global Tour, the 31-year-old has now ignited his campaign by following up a tie for 12th in Bahrain last week with a runner-up finish in Qatar.
As a result, he finds himself 13th on the Race to Dubai and alongside fellow Challenge Tour graduates Jesper Svensson (11th) and countryman Frederic Lacroix (16th) in the top 20 ahead of a one-week break in the International Swing.
Jamieson performs well again in Doha
Four months or so on from retaining his full playing privileges at this very event towards the end of last season, Scott Jamieson was once again producing his best on the Persian Gulf in Qatar.
A winner on the DP World Tour back in 2012, the Scot was making his fourth consecutive start in the Middle East and saved his best to last as he played his back nine on Sunday in 30 to card the lowest round of the week.
Reflecting on his final-day performance, he said: “I holed a good putt on seven and that freed me up a little. A really good one (too) on nine and there are always chances on this back nine.
“There was a slightly different wind which makes a little bit harder but I knew there were going to be some chances and you’ve just got to take them.”
Now up to 23rd on the Race to Dubai, he will hope the confidence gained from this performance can provide the springboard for him to challenge to finish among the top 50 and secure a first return to the season-ending DP World Tour Championship since 2020.
Højgaard continues to challenge
While the final round did not pan out as he would have hoped for, 54-hole co-leader Rasmus Højgaard can reflect on a fine start to the year after a series of impressive performances in the Middle East.
After finishing in a tie for 11th in his first two starts in Dubai, including the first Rolex Series event of the season, he has finished runner-up in Ras Al Khaimah and then in a tie for eighth and sixth in Bahrain and Qatar respectively.
His latest top 10 has lifted the Dane to second on the International Swing rankings, and based on current form it is hard to imagine it won’t be long before the 22-year-old wins his fifth DP World Tour title.
Nicholas 'pumped for the rest of the season' after DP World Tour debut
James Nicholas secured his DP World Tour card for the 2024 Race to Dubai by coming through all three stages of Qualifying School last season.
But the Yale University biology graduate and former football player was made to wait for his first start of the campaign after making the final stage of PGA TOUR Qualifying School at the end of last year and then missing out on the field for the opening run of events due to his membership category.
After making the cut on the number, the American then went 71-73 over the weekend to finish in a tie for 55th.
The 26-year-old revealed he would remain in the Middle East during the off week before heading to Kenya next week for the first of three events in Africa on the DP World Tour.
"T-55th … Excited to build on this and pumped for the rest of the season!" he wrote on Instagram.
Nakajima’s ‘par save of the year’
“That’s the best par save of the year!” is how Keita Nakajima reflected on his brilliant up and down from the rocky waste area during Friday’s second round at the fifth.
After an errant approach shot, the Japanese displayed the talent which saw him spend a record 87 weeks atop the World Amateur Golf Rankings as he chipped to ten feet and rolled in the par putt to sit four back at the halfway stage.
While he was unable to mount a title challenge over the weekend, the 23-year-old’s progress is one to watch out for with interest.
Shot of the week
But that wasn’t the only great shot across the four rounds at the 27th edition of one of the Middle East’s longest running events.
Take your pick from our five-strong shortlist below…