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Golfers shrug off green fears

Pre-tournament memo warned players about conditions at Emirates Golf Club

Gulf News

Dubai: Pre-tournament fears surrounding the health of the greens at Emirates Golf Club’s Majlis Course were shrugged off by players after a low scoring opener to the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on Thursday.

In a pre-event memo sent out to players from the European Tour’s Tournament Director Mike Stewart last week, it was said: “We are aware of rumours circulating about the conditions at Emirates Golf Club and take this opportunity to apprise you of the present position and to alleviate any concerns.

“Unfortunately towards the end of December, the greens were affected by a fungal disease known as ‘Bermudagrass Decline’, which seriously affected the plant and resulted in a loss of grass coverage.” The statement went on to say a recovery programme had been largely successful but for notable damage on the first and fifth holes.

However, there were only positives reviews from those finishing their opening rounds. Tied for sixth, Paul Casey, who hit six under par, 66, said: “I scratch my head slightly because we had a letter last week about the greens and how they had picked up some kind of disease and that they were worried about the conditions.

“They were absolutely pure. I have no idea what they are talking about. It’s the best-conditioned golf course I’ve played this year by far.”

Day one leader Richard Sterne, who hit ten under par 62, added of the greens: “They were better than I expected. Obviously when they send out something like that, you do tend to worry. But generally, I think they are better than what we expected.”