PGA European - Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Wednesday, January 21st through Saturday, January 24th
SITE: Doha Golf Club, Doha, Qatar
COURSE ARCHITECT: Peter Harradine (1996)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,400
Hole-by-Hole1 - Par 5 591 Yds
2 - Par 4 433 Yds
3 - Par 3 223 Yds
4 - Par 4 413 Yds
5 - Par 4 452 Yds
6 - Par 4 488 Yds
7 - Par 4 391 Yds
8 - Par 3 185 Yds
9 - Par 5 639 Yds
36 3,815 Yds
10 - Par 5 548 Yds
11 - Par 4 474 Yds
12 - Par 4 429 Yds
13 - Par 3 203 Yds
14 - Par 4 410 Yds
15 - Par 4 470 Yds
16 - Par 4 307 Yds
17 - Par 3 155 Yds
18 - Par 5 589 Yds
36 3,585 Yds
Annual:  18th
Television:  Golf Channel - Wednesday/Thursday -- 1:30-4:30, 6-8:30 a.m. (et),
  - Friday/Saturday -- 4:30-8:30 a.m. (et),
Defending Champion:  Sergio Garcia
Runner-Up:  Mikko Ilonen
Tournament Record:  268 (Paul Lawrie, 1999; Adam Scott, 2008)
54-Hole Record:  200 (Paul Lawrie, 1999; Alvaro Quiros, 2009)
36-Hole Record:  131 (Rafael Cabrera-Bello, 2014)
Course Record:  61 (Adam Scott, 2008)
Total Purse:  $2,500,000
Payouts:  1st Place - $416,660; 2nd Place - $277,770; 3rd Place - $156,500
2014 Finish
Sergio Garcia *272Thomas Aiken274
Mikko Ilonen272George Coetzee274
Rafael Cabrera-Bello273Alejandro Canizares274
Thorbjorn Olesen273Magnus A. Carlsson275
Steve Webster274Dawie Van Der Walt275

* - Won in Playoff

Past Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2014*Sergio Garcia (272) -- Mikko Ilonen
2013Chris Wood (270) -- Sergio Garcia, George Coetzee
2012#Paul Lawrie (201) -- Peter Hanson, Jason Day
2011Thomas Bjorn (274) -- Alvaro Quiros
2010Robert Karlsson (273) -- Alvaro Quiros
2009Alvaro Quiros (269) -- Henrik Stenson, Louis Oosthuizen
2008Adam Scott (268) -- Henrik Stenson
2007Retief Goosen (273) -- Nick O'Hern
2006Henrik Stenson (273) -- Paul Broadhurst
2005Ernie Els (276) -- Henrik Stenson
2004Joakim Haeggman (272) -- Nobuhito Sato
2003*Darren Fichardt (275) -- James Kingston
2002Adam Scott (269) -- Jean-Francois Remesy, Nick Dougherty
2001Tony Johnstone (274) -- Robert Karlsson
2000Rolf Muntz (280) -- Ian Woosnam
1999Paul Lawrie (268) -- Soren Kjeldsen, Phillip Price
1998Andrew Coltart (270) -- Patrik Sjoland, Andrew Sherborne

* - Won in Playoff

# - Weather-Shortened

Top Contenders in the Field
Sergio Garcia------T-19T-7T-7T-24T-9T-5T-2Won
Mikko Ilonenmc------mcT-37T-49---T-35T-92nd
R. Cabrera-Bello---------------mcT-3T-35T-22T-3
Thorbjorn Olesen------------------mcT-59T-22T-3
George Coetzee---------------------T-35T-2T-5
Paul LawrieT-69mcT-11T-25T-46mcT-19WonmcT-11
Branden Grace---------------------T-47T-6T-13
Henrik Stenson2ndWonT-72ndT-2T-64mcmcT-16T-28
Gary Stal---------------------------T-33
Ernie ElsWonT-133rd---T-31---------73rdT-37
Justin Rose------------mc---------T-16---
Charl SchwartzelT-16T-24---3rdT-21T-14------------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Charl Schwartzel
Darkhorse - Thomas Pieters
Last Week's Pick to Win (Rory McIlroy) - Finished 2nd
Last Week's Darkhorse (Lee Slattery) - Missed the cut
The European Tour travels to Qatar this week for the 18th annual Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Three of the top-6 players in the world are in the field -- 2006 champion Henrik Stenson (2), Justin Rose (5) and defending champion Sergio Garcia (6).

Stenson missed the cut last week in Abu Dhabi in his first start of 2015. Rose finished tied for 12th in his first start of 2015 in Abu Dhabi. Garcia is making his 2015 debut this week.

Stenson and Garcia have outstanding records at this tournament. Stenson finished 2nd (2005), Won (2006), tied for 7th (2007), 2nd (2008) and tied for 2nd (2009). He tied for 28th last year. Garcia finished tied for 7th (2008-09), tied for 9th (2011), tied for 5th (2012), tied for 2nd (2013) and Won (2014).

Doha Golf Club is a green oasis in the middle of the desert, complete with 10,000 different types of plants, shrubs and trees, and eight artificial lakes. The course is located in the West Bay Lagoons near the capital of Qatar. The course is owned by the state of Qatar and is one of the most luxurious golf clubs in the middle east. The course layout features a premium on second shots. The par-threes are some of the hardest holes on the course and the 9th, a par-5 of 639 yards, is one of the longest on tour.

Last year, Garcia birdied the third playoff hole to defeat Mikko Ilonen. Garcia matched the low round of the final day with a 7-under 65 to finish at 16-under-par 272. He collected his 11th career win on the European Tour.

Steve Webster became the first player in European Tour history to double-eagle the opening hole of a tournament last year. Webster started on the 10th hole and carded a two on the par-5 for an albatross. He finished the tournament tied for fifth.

In 2013, Chris Wood eagled the final hole to secure his first European Tour win in dramatic fashion. Wood led by three strokes entering the final round, but he was eventually caught by Garcia and George Coetzee, who both birdied the par-5 18th to jump in front at 17-under. After parring Nos. 16 and 17, Wood went to the final hole one stroke back, needing at least a birdie to stay in contention. The 25-year-old Englishman then blasted a drive down the fairway, sent his approach within 10 feet, and calmly drained the eagle putt to finish at 18-under 270.

Alvaro Quiros shot four rounds in the 60s in 2009 to win his third European Tour title. He finished at 19-under-par 269 for a 3-shot win over Stenson and Louis Oosthuizen. Quiros was the only player in the field to fire four rounds in the 60s. He matched the 54-hole record of 200 set by Paul Lawrie in 1999.

Adam Scott fired a course-record 61 in the final round of 2008 to win by three strokes over Stenson. Scott's 61 broke the course record of 63 set by Mark Pilkington and Robert Karlsson in 2001. It was the lowest round of Scott's career and the lowest final round by a winner on the European Tour since Jamie Spence shot 60 to win the 1992 European Masters. Scott finished the event at 20-under-par 268, which tied the tournament record set by Lawrie in 1999.

In 2007, Retief Goosen shot rounds of 65-68-71-69 to win. Goosen finished at 15-under-par 273 for a 1-shot win over Nick O'Hern. Goosen drained a 30-foot eagle putt on the final hole to overtake O'Hern for his 14th European Tour title. Goosen won a European Tour event nine consecutive years until 2008. O'Hern's second-place finish was the seventh of his career on the European Tour. He has the most runner-up finishes without a victory in European Tour history.

Ernie Els overcame a 5-stroke deficit in 2005 under windy conditions in the final round to capture this event. He fired a final-round, 7-under 65 to win by a stroke over Stenson at 12-under-par 276. His 5-stroke comeback equaled the best final-round comeback in event history. Joakim Haeggman also accomplished the feat in 2004.

There has not been a wire-to-wire winner of this tournament. Stenson (2006) and Goosen (2007) both shared the lead after all rounds, but did not lead alone after every round.

This event marks the second of a 3-week stay for the European Tour in the Middle East, now affectionately known as the "Gulf Swing." Gary Stal captured the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship last week. Next week, the swing concludes with the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, where Stephen Gallacher has won the last two years.

01/20 17:04:56 ET

As of January 20, 2015, at 05:05 PM ET

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