Dubai Pro qualifies for Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship
Sheridan To Line-Up Against Major Field for 2011 UAE Capital Showdown.
December 17, 2010 10:05 by Rasha Reslan
A fired-up Richard Sheridan carded a succession of birdies to win the 2011 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship UAE PGA Qualifying Tournament and seal his place in the star-studded January line-up, which already includes three of the world’s top four players, five of the top 10, and all current 2010 Major winners.
Dubai resident Sheridan – a PGA golf teaching professional at the Butch Harmon School of Golf at Dubai Sports City – was in a bullish mood and held his nerve at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club qualifier to become the first locally-based golfer to secure back-to-back entries into the championship, now the richest event of the ‘Desert Swing’ quartet.
No stranger to the National Course, which will host the 2011 championship, 20-23rd January, Sheridan’s accurate iron shots on the second, third and fourth holes and a 15-ft birdie putt on the sixth put him in a strong position for the testing back-nine.
And despite bogeys on the 12th and 17th holes, the 33 year-old managed to finish his round with a two-under-par 70, beating Luke Cantelo and Malcolm Young who could only manage a level par 72.
“The only way to qualify is to start strong, and four birdies in the first six holes put me right in contention. If I am to hold my own against four Major winners and a number of the world’s best players, I will need to go low when I tee off in January,” said Sheridan, who missed the cut in the 2010 event.
“For me, the importance of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship was my inspiration to qualify. As a PGA professional, I have admired players like Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood for many years, and now I can look forward to competing alongside them in January.”
Masters-winner Mickelson will be joined by Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, the two-time Abu Dhabi winner and US PGA Champion, and US Open winner Graeme McDowell at the 2011 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. This will be the first time in the region all four Major winners will feature in the same line-up.
The 2011 Championship, the sixth edition of this European Tour event, will also feature many other leading players including Westwood, the world’s number one, Paul Casey, who will be looking to secure a hat trick of titles in Abu Dhabi, and Italy’s rising superstar, Matteo Manasero, the youngest-ever Tour winner.
The new look Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, which this year sees a new title sponsor in HSBC, the world’s local bank, boasts an increased prize fund of US$2.7 million – US$500,000 up on 2010. It is also the largest international title sponsorship of an Abu Dhabi initiated event.
“We welcome Richard Sheridan back again this year and wish him all the best over the four rounds. Seeing a local player line up alongside the best in the world adds another level of interest to what is already one of golf’s most exciting tournaments. It is also positive for the development of the local golfing scene and we hope that Richard’s success inspires others to follow suit,” said Faisal Al Sheikh, Events Manager for Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), the championship organiser.
With designs on attracting the championship’s biggest ever spectator turnout, ADTA has promised a substantially expanded Championship Village with more attractions, restaurants, cafes and competitions. The ‘away from the course’ initiative is part of ADTA’s intention to consolidate Abu Dhabi’s mounting credentials as a golfing and leisure destination of distinction.
The emirate’s golfing facilities have expanded significantly over the past year with Abu Dhabi now boasting three world-class, championship-ready facilities. The championship takes Abu Dhabi’s name across the world to golfers who are able to book holidays through the increasing number of international and local tour operators who are packaging the sport in the emirate.
Tickets for the Championship are AED 125 for a daily pass and AED 400 for a four-day pass. Preferential rates of AED 100 and AED 300, respectively, apply to UGA members. Children under-18 will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Car parking is free during the Championship.
Tickets are available via the event’s official website, www.abudhabihsbcgolfchampionship.com, as well as online at www.timeouttickets.com and www.itptickets.com. Phone bookings can be made through the ITP toll-free hotline 800 4669, or for international clients, +971 4 210 8943.
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is backed by a high-profile sponsorship line-up that also includes Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group, Emirates Palace hotel, Etisalat, TDIC, Airbus, Xerox, CNN, Gulf News and Rolex.