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Lee Westwood has finished runner-up at the Dubai Desert Classic twice in his last four appearances and is back again to fight it out for the title.

Westwood, who has cashed in each of his last 13 visits to the Emirates, suffered agonizing losses in this event in both 2010 and 2012. Five years ago he lost a playoff to Miguel Angel Jiménez while in 2012 he couldn't convert a 54-hole lead and lost by one to Rafael Cabrera-Bello. Westwood added to his superb course form with a T5 here on his last appearance in 2013. The Englishman closed 2014 with a victory in the Thailand Golf Championship in mid-December but that was his last appearance so he may have to shake off some rust.
Jan 27 - 4:54 PM

Joost Luiten has struggled at the Dubai Desert Classic but a top 25 last year may provide the stepping stone for a first title challenge.

This will be the Dutchman's sixth appearance at the Emirates Golf Club and three of the previous five have resulted in missed cuts. He first made the weekend with a T33 in 2012 and improved on that with a T23 last year after three 70s and a 69. Rust could be an issue for the Dutchman this time as he hasn't played the first two legs of the Gulf Swing. His last outing was a T24 in the Nedbank Golf Challenge. One positive is that he does boast a strong record in the region having banked four top 10s in his last six starts in the United Arab Emirates.
Jan 27 - 4:35 PM

Anders Hansen is a former runner-up at the Dubai Desert Classic and is rounding into some good form again ahead of his latest appearance.

The Dane has improved his finish in each of his three starts in 2015. He was T46 in the South African Open, T26 in Abu Dhabi and T19 in last week's Qatar Masters. His second place at this venue came in 2011 while he was also fourth in 2006. The 44-year-old has hit the heights during his long career on the European Tour, twice winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, and looks to be playing well again after returning in April 2014 from a six-month absence due to wrist surgery.
Jan 27 - 4:24 PM

Kristoffer Broberg turns his attention to the Emirates Course as he contests the Dubai Desert Classic for a third time.

With a T33 in Qatar and a T45 in Abu Dhabi, the Swede has cashed for eight straight tournaments. But, despite a reputation for being one of the hardest workers on the European Tour, he's struggled to go through the gears and hasn't made a single top 30 in his run of straight cuts. The putter is the problem for Broberg; he sits outside the top 120 in both the European Tour's putting categories. In two previous starts in this event, he missed the cut in 2013 and was T29 last year after a closing 67.
Jan 27 - 4:11 PM

Julien Quesne has the boost of a top 20 in last week's Qatar Masters when he contests the Dubai Desert Classic for a second time.

The 34-year-old Frenchman closed the Qatar Masters with rounds of 69 and 68 to finish T19 -- his best finish since a T11 in June's Nordea Masters in Sweden. Quesne opened with a 66 on his Dubai debut last year and followed that with a 70 to sit in third place at halfway so carries some positive memories despite a poor weekend which dropped him to T48. He has two wins on the second-tier Challenge Tour, the most recent in 2013.
Jan 27 - 3:56 PM

Scott Hend returns to the Emirates Golf Club to tee it up for a fourth time in the Dubai Desert Classic.

The big-hitting Australian has made the top 30 in two of his three visits, finishing T14 on debut in 2008 and T29 last year. He missed the cut in his only other appearance in 2010. Hend has contested the first two legs of the 2015 Gulf Swing and took T31 in Abu Dhabi before crashing out at halfway in Qatar last week. He finally banked a first win on the European Tour when capturing the co-sanctioned Hong Kong Open last October. That his big breakthrough should come there was no surprise given that he's been an ever-present on the Asian Tour since 2006 after an unsuccessful stint on the PGA Tour.
Jan 27 - 3:39 PM

Anthony Wall has built a solid bank of form at the Dubai Desert Classic and returns to the Emirates Golf Golf Club for another crack.

The English pro, whose only European Tour win came back in 2000, has made six of his last seven cuts in this event, the highlight a seventh place in 2009. A 66 in round two last year helped him to T23. Wall completed 15 straight seasons inside the top 100 on the Race To Dubai before that streak ended in an injury-hit 2013. He finished 110th last year but has spoken recently about his confidence returning, words borne out by a T12 in Abu Dhabi a fortnight ago.
Jan 27 - 3:27 PM

Thomas Björn has a win and six other top 15s at the Emirates and will be hoping to add to that record in this week's Dubai Desert Classic.

Björn triggered the 'Great Dane' headlines in 2001 when holding off Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington to win by two shots. That was his sixth European Tour win; he now has 15. The veteran, who played on Europe's winning Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles last October, shows no sign of slowing up in this event and was T13 last year, ninth in 2012 after leading at halfway and T15 in 2010. This is his first start of 2015 after an extended break following his T24 in the Nedbank Golf Challenge where he started with an 80.
Jan 27 - 3:11 PM

Former champion David Howell will hope to arrest a poor run of form when he lines up again in the Dubai Desert Classic.

Howell put his name on this trophy in 1999 when shredding a world-class field and coming home four shots clear of Lee Westwood. It's worth noting though that his victory came not at the Emirates Golf Club but at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club which stood in as host in 1999 and 2000. His best efforts at the Emirates are a third in 2004 and a T9 in 2005. Recent visits have been disappointing as he's failed to cash in five of his last nine appearances. Howell has also missed the cut in his last three tournaments, that run including the first two events of the Gulf Swing.
Jan 27 - 2:50 PM

Brooks Koepka gears up for this week's Waste Management Phoenix Open ranked 49th in the FedExCup standings.

His positioning inside the top 50 is more impressive when you consider he has teed it up just twice this season. While the PGA TOUR schedule may have been light, he wasn't sitting at home eating potato chips. Instead, he opted to play overseas, collecting a win at the Turkish Airlines Open on the European Tour. With eight top 20s in his last 11 starts internationally, gamers should have Koepka firmly on their radar this week.
Source: PGATOUR.com
Jan 27 - 12:27 PM

He needed a playoff this morning, but Andrew Loupe advanced to the Waste Management Phoenix Open via open qualifying.

Loupe has conditional status on the PGA TOUR this season, so this is a real bonus. He shot 5-under-par 35-32=67 at McCormick Ranch Golf Club's Pine Course in Scottsdale with six birdies against one bogey. The 24-year-old then outlasted PGA TOUR rookie Blayne Barber, eight-time PGA TOUR winner Lee Janzen and Andy Pope in a 4-for-1 playoff for the final of three berths. (The WMPO is the only open tournament with an open qualifier that doesn't reserve four spots.) Scott Harrington and Cory Renfrew shared medalist honors. Harrington turned in a 6-under 32-34=66 with an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys. Renfrew carded 6-under 31-35=66 with seven birdies and a bogey. The field for the WM Phoenix Open is now complete at 132.
Jan 27 - 12:22 PM

Scott Langley returns to the Waste Management Phoenix Open for his second start at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course.

The lefty finished T69 in his debut last year, but closed out the week with a sour 4-over 75. Fellow southpaws Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, and Mike Weir have collected a combined 16 top 10s at this event, so the layout may suit Langley well. He arrives this week ranked 116th in the FedExCup standings after three cuts made in his opening five events of the new season.
Source: PGATOUR.com
Jan 27 - 12:16 PM

Justin Hicks finished in a share of 19th place at last year's Waste Management Phoenix Open and returns this week for another look.

Hicks missed his sixth cut of the season at last week's Humana Challenge. His lone cut made was a pedestrian T61 at the Sanderson Farms Championship. He ranks 176th in strokes gained:total and should not be trusted at this point. Hicks posted three top 10s last season so the upside is there but his current form makes it easy for gamers to stay away this week.
Source: PGATOUR.com
Jan 27 - 11:51 AM

Padraig Harrington turns his attention to TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course for this week's Waste Management Phoenix Open.

The Irishman returns for his third look at the course. After a marvelous T9 debut in 2013, he returned with disappointment, missing the cut his second time through the motions. Harrington arrives having won his latest start overseas at the BANK BRI Indonesia Open but has failed to secure a top 70 in four attempts on the PGA TOUR this season.
Source: PGATOUR.com
Jan 27 - 11:37 AM

Jordan Spieth makes his debut in the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale this week.

Spieth picked up wins the last two times he teed it up to end the 2014 calendar year. The first came in the Emirates Australian Open and the second fell at the Hero World Challenge. Because of his globetrotting, he's managed to log just one PGA TOUR start in 2014-15. That was a T35 in the WGC-HSBC Champions. Despite his lack of course history at TPC Scottsdale, he should be considered among the favorites to contend.
Source: PGATOUR.com
Jan 26 - 8:46 PM



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