DOHA: World No.9 Alex Noren will compete at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters for a ninth time when the 20th edition of the popular European Tour event is held at Doha Golf Club from January 26-29.
Currently one of the world’s most in-form players, the Swede has won four European Tour titles over the past five months and finished third in the 2016 Race to Dubai behind compatriot Henrik Stenson, the reigning Open Champion, and Masters Tournament winner Danny Willett.
As Noren looks ahead to a new European Tour season, the 34 year old is eager to return to Doha where he first competed in 2007 and recorded a tournament-best finish of fourth in 2013, having been tied for second behind eventual champion Chris Wood after 54 holes.
“I’ve played in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters for quite a few years and I imagine it will be quite special for the 20th edition,” said Noren, who finished ninth in 2015 and started with two rounds of 69 in 2016 before fading at the weekend to 41st.
“It's fair to say I’ve been playing well over the past few months and I will certainly look to continue this form in the new season. I’ve done well in Doha before, especially in 2013, and I like the course so I hope to be in contention again.”
Noren shot a closing 63 to win the recent US$7 million Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa and become the first Swede to win four European Tour titles in a single season, having won the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in July, the Omega European Masters in Switzerland in September, and the British Masters supported by Sky Sports in October.
His Sun City success propelled him to a career-high of ninth in the Official World Golf Ranking and he became only the fourth Swede to enter the top ten following Stenson, Robert Karlsson and Jesper Parnevik.
Noren also joined a cast of legends to have won four or more European Tour titles in a single season: Seve Ballesteros, Sir Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam, Lee Westwood, Colin Montgomerie, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Miguel Angel Jiménez, Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy.
As well as being in the form of his life, Noren will head to Doha buoyed by the fact that three of his compatriots have won the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters: Karlsson in 2010, Stenson in 2006 and Joakim Haeggmann in 2004.
“Swedes have done well in Doha in the past and there’s no reason why one of us couldn’t win this year. I’ve been playing really well and I’m in the winning habit,” Noren said.
“I certainly believe I have a chance to win. When my game is on, I feel I can compete against anyone, but there will be many good players in the field and I’ll need to be at my best to have a chance.”
The Commercial Bank Qatar Masters is organised by The Qatar Golf Association (QGA), the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC), Doha Golf Club and long-term title sponsor Commercial Bank.
Hassan Al Naimi, President of the Qatar Golf Association, said: “We’re delighted to announce that Alex Noren, who recently broke into the world’s top ten for the first time, will return to Doha for the 20th Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. We expect a special field for this special tournament.” --- Press Release