Four-time Major winner Ernie Els captained his Commercial Bank team to victory in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Pro-Am on Tuesday.
The South African superstar led his CBQ 4 team featuring amateurs Rachid Akl, Chawki Harb and Ramzi Mcharafieh to a medal score of -39, although a countback was required to secure victory in the traditional curtain-raiser to the long-standing European Tour event.
Julien Quesne’s Byrne 1 team also had a score of -39, with the French pro and his partners Steve Caygill, Jaques Du Toit and Thibaut Peniguet finishing runner-up.
Finnish star Mikko Ilonen, who lost a play off to Sergio Garcia in the 2014 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, led his QGA 1 team to third place on -38. Teams captained by George Coetzee and ‘Long John’ Daly finished fourth and fifth respectively.
The Pro-Am featured 40 pros, each teaming up with three amateurs that included a range of VIPs and celebrities.
Commercial Bank (CBQ), Qatar Golf Association (QGA) and Doha Golf Club (DGC) all fielded several teams in the event, while tournament sponsors and partners also had teams.
Colin MacDonald, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Commercial Bank, played for CBQ 1 with fellow Scot Stephen Gallacher, the 2014 Ryder Cup winner well known in the Middle East for winning back-to-back titles in Dubai in 2013 and 2014.
Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola was the latest famous footballer to feature in the event. The former Italy international played with 22-year-old compatriot Matteo Manassero, who won his fourth European Tour title by the age of 20.
Zola continued the Pro-Am’s tradition of attracting football stars. Last year, former Scotland striker Andy Gray played for the second straight year, teaming up with Glenn Hoddle, the former England midfielder and manager, and Andrew Cole, the former Manchester United and England striker.
In 2014, current Scotland manager Gordon Strachan and current Wales manager Chris Coleman played with Gray and two-time Major winner John Daly in a star-studded group.
Rising golf stars also took part this year, with Bernd Wiesberger’s team including 14-year-old Christine Scholten-Kool, who was playing in her fourth Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Pro-Am and has been playing golf at Doha Golf Club since she was six.
Prizes were awarded at a lavish Pro-Am Dinner hosted by The St. Regis Doha, the tournament’s Official Hotel.
Big names at this week’s Commercial Bank Qatar Masters include Els, World No. 11 Branden Grace, World No. 12 Sergio Garcia and World No. 18 Louis Oosthuizen.