• Ernie takes centre stage in Dubai

    Ernie takes centre stage in Dubai
    Ernie Els

    Ernie Els will be the centre of attention as one of 13 South Africans competing at this week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

    Els, a three-time champion at the Emirates Golf Club, will make his first appearance in quite some time on the European Tour.

    The four-time Major winner has been achieving great success on the PGA Champions Tour since last year and will head into Thursday’s start on the back of a T15 finish at last week’s Electric Championship in Hualalai.

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    Els has 28 European Tour titles to his name, the seventh most of all time, and has been paired in a group with Aaron Rai and Martin Kaymer for the Desert Classic.

    Finishing as the highest-placed South African at last week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, George Coetzee will be eager to continue with his fine run of form.

    Coetzee will tee off alongside Andrea Pavan and Shubhankar Sharma for the opening two rounds. They will be one of the first groups out on the course on Thursday morning.

    Justin Harding will play with Spaniard Eduard Rousaud and Germany’s Sebastian Heisele, while Haydn Porteous has been paired with David Drysdale and Adri Arnaus for Thursday and Friday’s action.

    After missing last week’s cut, Compleat Golfer playing editor Brandon Stone will no doubt be hoping for more consistency over the next four days.

    He will tee off alongside English duo Laurie Canter and David Hague for the first round. Similarly, Garrick Higgo will also be eyeing an improved performance. He will take on veteran Thomas Bjorn and Stephen Gallacher in a group.

    Christiaan Bezuidenhout had a decent showing in Abu Dhabi and will have another perfect opportunity this week to challenge for top spot.

    The 26-year-old has been paired with Miguel Angel Jimenez and Matt Wallace. Wilco Nienaber, Justin Walters, Dean Burmester, Zander Lombard, Richard Sterne and Jayden Schaper will complete the local contingent.

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