Commercialbank Qatar Masters

In-form Rose Relishing Duel with 'Similar' Oosthuizen

Open Champion Els cites Oosthuizen, Garcia as favourites

Justin Rose is motivated by being grouped with Louis Oosthuizen - the man he recently deposed as World Number Four - in the first two rounds of this week's US$2.5 million Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, which tees off at Doha Golf Club on Wednesday.

Rose, who finished second behind Rory McIlroy in last year's Race to Dubai, leapfrogged Oosthuizen to fourth spot in the World Ranking after finishing runner-up to Jamie Donaldson in last week's European Tour event in Abu Dhabi.

The tall Englishman, who played a pivotal role in Europe's Ryder Cup victory last September, has cited the similarities between himself and Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open Champion who won this year's first European Tour event in his native South Africa. Former World Number One Martin Kaymer, a 10-time European Tour winner, completes the high-profile threeball.

"My game is in great shape and I'm hoping that this is another good week to go out and test my game against a good golf course. Myself and Louis are Number Four and Number Five in the world and no matter who wins this week, it's going to be the guy who puts four steady, good rounds of golf together," Rose said.

"Louis and I have essentially got the same world ranking, with a similar amount of points. I also feel we have similar games. We drive the ball well, are good iron players and hit the ball the same distance. I feel very comfortable working off his game out on the golf course, so for me it's a good draw.

"It's the same with Martin, who's a good friend of mine and we definitely got closer at the Ryder Cup. It'll be a good group."

Rose believes American star Jason Dufner, a two-time winner on last year's PGA Tour, could also be a top contender as the World Number 11 makes his tournament debut in Doha following his breakthrough season.

"I see 'Duf' around a lot. He's a quiet lad and he works hard at his game. I admire him a lot and love the way he goes about his business. He's so understated, but he's got a lot of game and doesn't shout about it," said Rose, who spends much of the year in the US.

"I think this is the kind of course that will suit him. He's got a good, solid, low ball flight, so if it gets windy, he'll be a tough guy to beat. There's also Ernie Els, who always bring star power to a field. He's been doing this for a long time and has a big fan base around the world."

Last week, Rose led for the first three rounds in Abu Dhabi and he lipped out with a birdie putt on 18 on Sunday as he tried to force a playoff with Jamie Donaldson. The 32-year-old is viewing the result in a positive light as he consolidates his reputation as one of the game's leading players.

"I think I gained something last week, I certainly didn't lose anything," Rose said. "I look back on Sunday and feel like I made a lot of right decisions and did a lot of things very well. I'm very happy with where my game is and I want to continue in the same vein here in Qatar."

Els, whose victory in last year's Open Championship marked his fourth Major victory, is looking to win a second title in Doha, where the South African won in 2005 and finished third in 2007.

The 'Big Easy' has named compatriot Oosthuizen and Sergio Garcia as his picks to lift the Mother of Pearl Trophy on Saturday.

"I think all of the guys in the field are quality players and anybody can win, but of the star players, Louis is bringing great form here. I think Louis is probably the favourite this week, and also Sergio, as the last time he played, he won in Johor," Els said, referring to the Spaniard's Asian Tour victory in December.

Els last played in Doha in 2009 and the four-time Major winner is enjoying being back in the Middle East, where he has a good record in Qatar and UAE.

"It's wonderful to be back. I haven't been back for a couple of years now. I always used to start my season in the Middle East but since moving to Florida, I've started in the States the last couple of years. I can't believe it was 2005 when I won in Qatar, as it has gone so fast. Doha has really grown now," Els said.

"In '05, I won in Dubai and then I came here and wasn't that good for the first two rounds, but played a really good weekend and shot 65 or something on the final day. That was really nice. I remember playing good golf after that, too. I was also close (third) when Retief won in 2007.

"This year, I haven't really had a low round yet but I've played decent golf, especially last week, so I'm looking forward to some good stuff this week."