Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Alejandro Canizares during the first round of the DP World Tour Championship. Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images
Alejandro Canizares during the first round of the DP World Tour Championship. Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images

Alejandro Canizares leads the way in DP World Tour Championship

Spaniard leads by one shot after first round in Dubai.

DUBAI // Alejandro Canizares’s personal paperwork was in far better shape on Thursday than it was on Sunday night.

After playing in last week’s European Tour event in Turkey, the Spaniard went through pre-flight screening before his plane trip to Dubai when a customs agent imparted some jarring news.

Canizares, who makes his own travel arrangements, had forgotten to secure a visa for Ingrid Banochova, his Czech girlfriend of the past four years. After some serious hand-wringing, and thanks to a fortunate confluence of events, they sorted through the mess upon landing in Dubai at 3am, with a major assist from the European Tour’s Middle East director, Nick Tarratt, who was waiting with a high-ranking UAE customs official when the flight arrived.

“We were very lucky and had help from a lot of people,” said Canizares, 30. “We paid the fee and they let us in.”

His documentation after the first round of the DP World Tour Championship was certainly well in order. Despite entering the season finale in the Race to Dubai ranked 54th in a field capped at 60 players, he shot a six-under 66 to take a one-shot lead at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Canizares several times described his Sunday as “stressful”, and he was not including what had transpired earlier in the day. Very much in contention entering the final round in Turkey, Canizares played with the world No 1 Tiger Woods and Henrik Stenson, the Race to Dubai leader and the perceived leading candidate for the European Tour’s top-player honours.

Canizares was the guy in the pairing that probably got limited TV air time, since he shot 73 and toppled into a tie for 18th. Still, it was his first pairing with Woods or, as he described him, “the guy I grew up watching”.

“I think it was a positive experience for me,” Canizares said. “It was difficult to get in my normal state, but it was positive because I now know I can play with the top guys.”

In a similar vein, Canizares has twice played in the star-filled Dubai finale, and has yet to finish in the top half of the field, finishing a career-best joint-36th last year.

With one career victory, in 2006, he might be unnerved to know that a couple of the season’s heavy hitters are directly on his tail.

Three of the top four in Race to Dubai points, Stenson, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter, are tied for 10th or better and within four shots of Canizares, who is ranked No 184 in the world. Ian Poulter, fourth in points, is three shots back.

Canizares got his biggest shove from two other journeymen, Australia’s Marcus Fraser and Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, who were tied for the lead, but bogeyed the tricky 18th to fall one back. Fraser, who does not exactly leave a vapour trail when he strikes the ball, birdied all four of the par-3 holes.

“To play the par-3s in four under on this golf course, for someone who hits it my length, is pretty good,” he said.

Yet nobody was happier than Canizares, who admitted the visa issue was entirely his fault. As the mini-drama played out, he was getting the silent treatment, which is never a good sign.

“She didn’t open her mouth,” Canizares said.

Now he has the best of both words: Domestic and professional bliss.

selling@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Shah Rukh Khan performs at the IPL Gala dinner to open IPL VII at the Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi.

In pictures: Shah Rukh Khan stars at IPL Gala dinner in Abu Dhabi

The superstar entertainer Shah Rukh Khan on stage last night at a gala dinner to launch the Indian Premier League cricket tournament.

No words can describe this April 17, your captions will

Have a catchy caption for this picture. Share it with us and we might publish it and reward you.

 The year-long project aims to create a form of social autobiography — the story of Dubai documented by those who know it best, the people who live there.

Zoom in! This is your Dubai in a single image

On our sixth birthday, we are all about pictures. So here is our #mydubai offering. Using zoom.it, explore the city.

 This Dh17,000 Miele system can prepare your choice of coffee - from capuccino to espresso - at a touch of a button. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Miele puts art in coffee making

Miele has devoted itself to the art of preparing the black liquid with its beautifully designed coffee machines, living up to its mantra of turning kitchens into cafés.

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 Amir Khan, during a workout at the Gloves Community Centre on March 24, 2014 in Bolton, England, says his fight will be the real main event in Las Vegas on May 3. Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Amir Khan says bout with Luis Collazo ‘will steal the show’ in Las Vegas on May 3

British-Pakistani boxer Amir Khan says his fight with Luis Collazo will be the main attraction on same fight card led by Floyd Mayweather Jr and Marcos Maidana, writes Omar Al Raisi.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National