This event in the United Arab Emirates was a late introduction to the European Tour schedule in 2022 – stepping in to replace the postponed Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Only announced in January, the European Tour and course officials were certainly quick to make the necessary arrangements, with everything being ready for the inaugural edition to take place in February, just one week after the Ras Al Khaimah Championship.
Before that debut in 2022, most observers expected the easy layout of the course to be taken apart by a quality field. Despite being long at 7,325 yards, the wide and welcoming fairways possess relatively few kinks or hazards, whilst the receptive Paspalum grass greens are amongst the easiest to read on the tour. Australian golfer Ryan Fox certainly had no trouble picking up birdies, posting a score of -22 to come home five clear of Englishman Ross Fisher in that 2022 edition.
|2022||Al Hamra Golf Club||Ryan Fox|
2022: Ryan Fox
If any proof was needed that golf is a difficult sport to predict it was provided by the Ras al Khaimah Classic. The tournament was played on the same course as the previous week’s Ras al Khaimah Championship with almost exactly the same field in similar conditions. As you would expect, the winner of the previous week’s tournament, Nicolai Hjogard, was the bookies’ favourite and yet he missed the cut. Then there’s Ryan Fox who missed the cut at Al Hamra Golf Club a week before but pulled off a stunning wire to wire victory of the Ras al Khaimah Classic.
Fox was frustrated not to make it to the weekend on his first spin around Al Hamra Golf Club as he felt it was a course that played to his strengths. Getting straight back on the horse proved to be just what was needed for the 35-year-old from Auckland as he did a fantastic job of making full use of his immense power off the tee.
As impressive as Fox always is with a driver in his hand, it was actually his approach play and putting where he gained most on the field. Such was the quality of his play over the first three days of the tournament that he was set to coast to victory. The nerves kicked in on Sunday though and his six-shot lead was quickly reduced to two. Fortunately for Fox, he had given himself enough wiggle room and he was soon back on track, ending the tournament a comfortable five shots ahead of runner up, Ross Fisher.