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Sandelin keen to get a headstart in Sharjah

Opening round of senior tour takes place in emirate from March 8 to 10

Gulf News

Sharjah: Sweden’s former Ryder Cup player Jarmo Sandelin is aiming to make a fast start in the opening event of the 20-stage Staysure Tour at the Sharjah Senior Masters at Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club from March 8 to 10.

“I have very good memories from playing in the UAE in the past,” said Sandelin, who missed last year’s inaugural event in Sharjah because he wasn’t yet the required 50 years of age, but went on to make seven top tens in his rookie season on the senior tour thereafter.

“I held the course record at Dubai Creek and enjoyed a few low rounds at the Dubai Desert Classic. I haven’t played the course at Sharjah before, but it’s always interesting to come to a new venue, and with it being a nine-hole course it will be a great way to begin the season.

“I’ve been doing a lot of work on my flexibility with a personal trainer recently and I’m touching down in Dubai early to hit some balls at the European Tour Performance Institute at Jumeirah Golf Estates,” added the five-event European Tour winner, who played in the 1999 Ryder Cup.

“It was a great feeling to turn 50 and get back out there again and enjoy all those feelings and refresh those memories of tournament play. If you play for 15 years on Tour and then have a break away from that for a seven-year spell, there are a lot of things you miss out on. When I came out last year, those feelings came back, and they came back quickly.

“Looking at my results from 2017 I’m pleased with the seven top-tens I had. I was hoping for a win — that’s always the goal — but I think I have created a platform for 2018. My final round in the last event of last year — a 62 at the MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius — showed that when I play really well, I can score very, very low. If I can put three good rounds together in a week, then, hopefully, it will be enough to win.

“If I can stay fit and enjoy another ten years on Tour, then that would be a great achievement and bring me lots of joy. I am really impressed with how the Tour is moving forward. They’ve done a great job and we all hope it will continue to grow. There are a lot of positive things happening with a couple of new events and new venues, so the future is looking good.”

Entry to the event is free and includes a host of former Ryder Cup players like Ronan Rafferty and Des Smyth.