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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

American golfer Pat Perez will debut at Dubai Desert Classic

The 41-year-old player signed to compete in January 25-28 event, according to media reports on Monday

Pat Perez has previously contested only three regular European Tour events. Lynne Sladky / AP Photo
Pat Perez has previously contested only three regular European Tour events. Lynne Sladky / AP Photo

US golfer Pat Perez is set to make his debut at next year’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

The 41-year-old American has been signed to compete in the January 25-28 event, hosted by Emirates Golf Club, according to reports on Monday.

Perez has previously contested only three regular European Tour events, but will join at the Majlis course defending champion Sergio Garcia. The pair share the same management team.

In a change to the tour’s calendar for 2018, the Desert Classic will be staged the week immediately following the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, with the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, traditionally played between the two UAE stops, moving to late February. The Doha event falls one week after the inaugural NBO Oman Golf Classic, which takes place at Almouj Golf in Muscat from February 15.

Appearing in Dubai for the first time, Perez will come into the tournament on the back of a fine season Stateside. Last November, he sealed his second PGA Tour victory by winning the OHL Classic in Mexico. He has also finished tied-second at the Well Fargo Championship and tied-third at the SBS Tournament of Champions. In all, Perez has six top 10s this campaign, with his best result in the majors coming with a tied-18th at the Masters in April.

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Now ranked a career-best 31st in the world, Perez finished 15th in the Fed Ex Cup standings last month after coming home 16th in the series-concluding Tour Championship at East Lake. He had never before reached that event.

The Desert Classic has established itself as a mainstay of the European Tour since its inception in 1989. Garcia won the tournament last year for the first time, when he went wire-to-wire to eventually triumph by three shots from 2007 champion Henrik Stenson.

Two months after his victory, Garcia prevailed at the Masters to finally break his major duck. It marked the second year in succession that the winner of the Desert Classic has gone on to win the Green Jacket, after Englishman Danny Willett did the double in 2016.

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