Commercialbank Qatar Masters

Els full of praise for Championship Course challenge

Four-time Major winner admires great test at Doha Golf Club

Reigning Open Champion Ernie Els has praised the all-round test presented by the Doha Golf Club's Championship Course as he embarks on his fifth appearance in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters this week.

Inaugurated in 1998, the prestigious four-day tournament has always been held at the same venue and earned high praise from the world's top touring pros. Els himself lifted the Mother of Pearl Trophy on his Doha debut in 2005 and the South African also competed in 2006, 2007 - when he finished third, two shots behind champion Goosen - and 2009.

Returning after a four-year gap, the popular four-time Major winner is again taking on the challenging 7,374-yard layout designed by Peter Harradine, which the 'Big Easy' believes tests all aspects of a golfer's game.

"You have to drive the ball well, you have to iron it well, you have to short game it well. Your whole game has to be up to a great test, so anybody with a strong game and who is on form could win here," said Els, who has amassed 27 European Tour wins among 65 career titles.

"This is one of the tougher courses on the Middle Eastern swing and always plays quite difficult. The wind blows a bit more here normally, so scoring can be difficult and you have to play well to finish under 70."

One of the greats of the modern game, Els is among the star players in Doha this week and is playing the first two rounds with defending champion Paul Lawrie and Sergio Garcia, a 10-time European Tour winner.

Els believes the winner on Saturday will have to be able to shape the ball both ways and conquer large greens, as well as top a field that also includes top-five players Justin Rose and Louis Oosthuizen, American star Jason Dufner and former World Number One Martin Kaymer.

"There are a lot of doglegs and a lot of angles. You have to move the ball left‑to‑right and right‑to‑left. A lot of golf courses, you move it one way, but here you have to move it both ways," Els said.

"Driving the ball is key and as I say, conditions get quite tough and the wind can test your game and the greens get pretty firm. So moving the ball both ways is important."

Els tees off his second round on Thursday with Garcia and Lawrie at 11.45am.