With a score of 19-under-par, Branden Grace of South Africa was declared the champion of the 18th Qatar Masters golf tournament on Saturday, amid a large crowd at the Doha Golf Club.
For the 26-year-old star, keeping his cool is what apparently helped him triumph in the tight battle that he faced on the greens in the final round.
Following the end of play yesterday, Grace was tied at 67 with three of his fellow competitors: young Argentine Emiliano Grillo, Marc Warren of Scotland and Austria No. 1 Bernd Wiesberger.
This pressure stayed with him until the final hole, where he managed to fire a bogey-free at 66, only one shot clear of Scotland’s Waren (67) and two ahead of Wiesberger (68).
“This is definitely one of the tournaments that I wanted to win, so I’m proud of myself that I managed to do it,” Grace said yesterday after being presented with a check of US$416,660.
To get into the champion’s frame of mind, Grace said that he watched past videos of himself capturing other titles.
“It worked,” he said in the post-match press conference. “It was nice to start the day with a birdie, that helped settle the nerves a little bit… and luckily I had a strong finish.”
Spanish star and last year’s defending champion Sergio Garcia saw his title defense fizzle-out on the third day of the tournament where he carded a 77.
UB40 concert cancelation
Following the end of play on Friday, many fans were looking forward to watch UB40 perform live in the public village.
However, out of respect for the death Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the concert and several other entertainment events in Qatar were canceled.
The event’s organizers announced a refund policy where those who purchased a ticket to watch the golf tournament on Friday for QAR 250 or season tickets were entitled QR50.
However, those who purchased a VIP concert ticket at QR500 would have their money refunded in full. The decision sparked mixed reactions among ticket-holders, many of whom said QR50 was not enough of a refund.
A Filipino expat who asked to remain anonymous told Doha News she was displeased with the refund policy.
“It’s unfair, plain and simple,” she said. “We pay for what they promise and if they can’t fulfill their end of the deal…give the money back.”
And British expat Simon Bisso, who is new in Qatar, said he was also unhappy with the decision of the event’s organizers. “I came here specifically to see the show piece…with the golf tournament and have a nice day out. It’s very disappointing,” he said.
Did you watch the tournament? Thoughts?