Commercialbank Qatar Masters

Looking Back, Looking Forward - Wood Vows to defend Mother of Pearl Trophy

Big man rises to the occasion in Doha

The first Englishman to win the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, towering Chris Wood has vowed to defend his title next year and keep his hands on the majestic Mother of Pearl Trophy.

"Yes, I'll definitely be back," said the soft-spoken Wood, the fast-rising star who continues his European Tour travels in Dubai this week.

Standing six-foot five-inches tall, Wood announced himself on the international stage in July 2008 when the then 20-year-old amateur finished fifth in The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, with his father as his caddie.

Turning pro soon after being awarded the silver medal as low amateur, Wood gained his card for the 2009 European Tour through qualifying school and went on to again thrive in The Open, sharing third place with Lee Westwood at Turnberry.

Wood competed in Qatar for the first time in January 2010, finishing 14th, and went on to 'knock on the door' with third-place finishes at both the Italian Open and Irish Open that year.

A former county-level footballer who was at the Bristol City academy as a teenager, Wood really started to kick on in 2011, when he finished runner-up to Louis Oosthuizen at the Africa Open and also Darren Clarke at the Iberdrola Open in Spain.

Last year, he finished 20th in his third straight appearance in Qatar and in April earned his third runner-up finish at the Sicilian Open. However, in August, he finally proved he could close out when he won his first pro title at the Thailand Open, on the OneAsia circuit.

Now a regular contender growing in confidence, Wood had recorded 19 top-10 finishes on The European Tour by the time he arrived in Doha last week for his fourth tilt at the Mother of Pearl Trophy.

He finally ended what he described as "four years of frustration at not wining" on Saturday when he displayed controlled aggression to eagle the 18th hole at Doha Golf Club and pip Sergio Garcia and George Coetzee, who had earlier looked likely contenders for a playoff.

"It's a dream come true. I've been knocking on the door a few times and it's not happened," said the Bristol-based Wood, who admitted his win in Bangkok had helped him through Saturday's pressure-packed final round.

"The Thailand Open win was massive for me. Obviously it didn't quite have the profile of a European Tour event, but a win is a win for me.

"You still have to go through the emotions, of sleeping on the lead going into the final day and dealing with the thought of, 'if this guy does that, I've got to do this'. You've got to block all that out. It was a great practice for me, to help me win in Doha. I might not have won if I had not won in Thailand."

Wood shot an eight-under-par 64 in Friday's third round to open up a three-shot lead at Doha Golf Club, marking the third time he has led going into the final round of a European Tour event. Standing on the cusp of another title, he admitted he had trouble sleeping.

"I didn't want to get too carried away, as there was still 18 holes to go and I knew I had a lot of support from all of the text messages I received. A couple of them woke me up at one o'clock in the morning," said Wood, who started the final day with a gym session, a regular part of his routine as he fights a winning battle against back problems.

Wood admitted Tiger Woods' winning spirit inspired his stunning eagle to wrap up his incident-filled closing round of 69, which gave him an 18-under-par total of 270 and left him clear of a field featuring Garcia, Oosthuizen, World Number Four Justin Rose and American star Jason Dufner.

"I was starting to have little doubts that I'd ever win, but I've got such a great team at home in Bristol helping me do the right things. I've been with my trainer for 12 and a half years and my trainer has been with me since I was 14," Wood said.

"I have a load of good people and a lot of good friends around me. They see me playing at home and know full well that I'm good enough to win, but until you do it, the doubt is in the back of your mind."

While in Doha, Wood even found time to take part in a friendly penalty shootout against Al Sadd Youth Team players after the second round on Thursday, helping Team Golf win 8-7 after two rounds of penalty kicks.

Wood's teammates that day were Swedish duo Henrik Stenson and Alexander Noren, and Spaniards Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Pablo Larrazabal - all multiple winners on the European Tour.

The Englishman is now keen to join that club with another victory and admits that his Qatar conquest has opened up new ambitions for the near future, as he's expected to be in the top 60 when the Official World Golf Ranking is updated on Monday.

"I got to about 65th or so a couple of years ago, but since then I've had all the problems with my back and I've struggled a little bit, but I always knew that I would be getting back in my own time and I'm absolutely desperate for it," he said.

"This definitely opens the door to a few more things and now I can set a couple of different targets for the next few months."