Shane Lowry has confirmed he will play all three early season Middle East events for a second year in succession as he looks to get his Ryder Cup qualification bid up and running in the desert. Lowry will again start his New Year in the UAE capital by teeing-up in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, where he won in 2019, before also competing in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
The still reigning Open Champion will then cross the Persian Gulf for the third edition of the Saudi International in Lowry’s second appearance at the event having finished T13th a year ago behind fellow Irishman Graeme McDowell. McDowell has already confirmed he will be returning to the Red Sea course to defend the 16th pro career victory of his career.
Lowry and McDowell will be among a golf bag full of European Ryder Cup stars including Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Stephen Gallacher, Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton, Edoardo Molinari, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and three time European Tour No.1 Lee Westwood while the Englishman is expected to be named later this week as a record-setting fourth ‘individual’ Association of Golf Writers (AGW) 2020 Golfer of the Year.
Also in the field will be world number one and 2020 Masters champion Dustin Johnson and US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau. Reigning British Open champion Shane Lowry and Americans Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed, as well as Malaysia’s Gavin Green, have likewise booked their slots.
Six-time European Tour winner Fleetwood, who is making his debut this year in the Saudi International, said of the event: “From all I’ve heard from the lads who played there the last couple of years, the Saudi International is already established as one of the leading events on the European Tour, both in terms of set up and facilities, as well as the quality of the field.”
Poulter added: “I really enjoyed the tournament (at the beginning of last year) and am psyched to be returning (next month). The course sets up for my game rather nicely so I was pretty frustrated to only finish in the top-20 and will be aiming to finish higher up the leaderboard this time. It’s a fantastic championship course with some amazing vistas and I also really like the fact we get to play a part in introducing golf to a whole new audience in a new region.”
The third Saudi International is to be held at the stunning Royal Greens Golf & Country Club from February 4th to 7th.