Dubai
desert classic

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR HEADLINES CROP OF YOUNG STARS

European Tour’s best newcomer Robert MacIntyre will be joined by tournament winners Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Guido Migliozzi, Erik Van Rooyen, in addition to Adri Arnaus and Matthias Schwab, at Emirates Golf Club

Hot on the heels of being named European Tour Rookie of the Year, Scotsman Robert MacIntyre has added his name to a world-class OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic field, where he will be joined by Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Guido Migliozzi and Erik Van Rooyen, who all claimed maiden European Tour titles in 2019.

The crop of rising stars will be joined at Emirates Golf Club by Adri Arnaus and Matthias Schwab, who themselves have both come close to a first victory this season, en route to finishing 41 and 17 on the Race to Dubai, respectively.

All six will arrive at Emirates Golf Club looking to emulate the success of defending champion Bryson DeChambeau, who will return to Dubai alongside fellow winners Rafa Cabrera Bello, Sergio Garcia, Haotong Li, Henrik Stenson and Danny Willett. In addition, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tyrrell Hatton, Ian Poulter, Matt Wallace and Lee Westwood are all set to inject their own star quality into the 31st edition of the event from 23-26 January.

Following a stellar amateur career, MacIntyre has impressed since earning his card through last year’s Challenge Tour Rankings, coming close to a maiden victory on several occasions – including runner-up finishes at both the British Masters and Made in Denmark. The left-hander will therefore hope to rubber stamp his rookie accolade with a first title very soon and the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic will be one of the first opportunities for him to do so in 2020.

“This year really couldn’t have gone much better,” said the 23-year old MacIntyre, who finished in a tie for sixth on his first Major appearance at the Open Championship earlier this year. “I’ve come close to winning on a few occasions, which has been a great experience. I learned a lot each time and feel it is just a matter of time until I put it all together and win. If that were to be in Dubai, it would be amazing. The Scots have a pretty good record there, so I’d love to follow on from Stephen (Gallacher) and Colin (Montgomerie) by putting my name on the trophy too.”

Much like MacIntyre in 2019, Van Rooyen had spent much of the previous 18 months knocking on the door of a first European Tour title, which subsequently came earlier this year at the Scandinavian Invitation. Rubber stamping his status as one of the Tour’s brightest young stars, the 29-year old has backed that up with three runner-up finishes and seven further top-10s, resulting in a career-best 10th place finish on the Race to Dubai.

“This has been a great year, but I hope it’s just the beginning,” said Van Rooyen, who graduated from the 2017 Challenge Tour Rankings. “To win in Sweden was an amazing moment in my career, but I have been just as pleased with the consistency I have shown this year. I want to build on this in 2020 and a win in Dubai, following in the footsteps of Ernie Els, would be amazing. I grew up watching him win all over the world and it would be great to achieve even a fraction of that myself.”

Migliozzi, fresh from a highly impressive first European Tour campaign, burst onto the scene this season. Claiming two victories in almost as many months, taking top spot at both the Magical Kenya Open and Belgian Knockout en route to 40th place on the Race to Dubai, the Italian will arrive in the UAE looking to kickstart his sophomore season in style by adding another title to his burgeoning resume.

“I cannot wait to play at Emirates Golf Club,” said the 22-year old, who would become the first Italian to win the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic title. “This has been an incredible first season, but I’m not going to stop here. I want this to be the start of a long career and the more I play in tournaments of this stature, the better I will get. I have not played in this event before, but I have heard great things, so I can’t wait to get going in January.”

It has been a roller-coaster journey for Bezuidenhout to get to this point in his career, but a victory at the Andalucia Masters back in June was a great example of triumph over adversity. His victory was no flash in the pan, however, as the South African racked up an additional five top-10 finishes and now sits as high as 90th in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Rounding out the crop of emerging talent are Spain’s Adri Arnaus and Austria’s Matthias Schwab. The former has posted six top-10 finishes in 2019, including runner-up finishes in Kenya and the Czech Republic, while the latter narrowly lost out in a recent six-man play-off in Turkey – one of 10 top-10 results in just his second full season on the European Tour.

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