Commercialbank Qatar Masters

Big Easy Wins PRO-AM again

Ernie Els won the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Pro-Am for the second straight year after the South African superstar captained his Gulf Times team to victory on Wednesday afternoon.

Els, a four-time Major winner, led his team featuring amateurs Rachid Aki, Chawki Harb and Matthew Moucharafleh to a medal score of -32 in the traditional curtain-raiser to the long-standing European Tour event, which is celebrating its 20th edition.

China Number One Li Haotong led his Rolex team featuring Marc Valentin, Henning Rudbech and Russel James to second place on -29, while Denmark’s Thorbjørn Olesen and his De Boer team finished third on -26.

Teams captained by 2016 European Tour Rookie of the Year Wang Jeunghun, two-time Major winner Martin Kaymer and eight-time European Tour winner Thongchai Jaidee finished -24.

The Pro-Am featured 34 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, while tournament sponsors and partners also had teams. Stephen Gallacher’s Commercial Bank team included Joseph Abraham, Chief Executive Officer of Commercial Bank, and Gary McGlinchey, General Manager of Doha Golf Club.

Prizes were awarded at a lavish Pro-Am Dinner hosted by The St. Regis Doha, the tournament’s Preferred Hotel.

The tournament starts on Thursday, with the first groups teeing off at 6.30am and the last flights off at 12.20pm.

Leading contenders this week include World Number 10 Alex Noren, 2016 Ryder Cup rookies Rafa Cabrera Bello, Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan, Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood, 11-time European Tour winner Martin Kaymer and four-time Ryder Cup star Graeme McDowell.

First held in 1998, the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters has helped establish Qatar as a world-class sporting venue and is considered the country’s annual ‘must-attend’ sporting and social event. Sitting at the heart of the European Tour’s Middle East swing, the tournament attracted over 25,000 spectators in 2016 and was broadcast to a global TV audience of over 400 million.

Leading contenders this week include World Number 10 Alex Noren, 2016 Ryder Cup rookies Rafa Cabrera Bello, Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan, Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood, 11-time European Tour winner Martin Kaymer and four-time Ryder Cup star Graeme McDowell.