x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Ryder Cup captain Olazabal gets back in the swing

The Ryder Cup captain gets back into form and is enjoying his time on the golf courses in the Gulf.

DUBAI // Alvaro Quiroz may have been the biggest winner at the Emirates Golf Club, but he was not the only Spaniard with reasons to be cheerful last night.

This season's Middle East Swing was ushered in at the National Course in Abu Dhabi a month ago amid much ceremony surrounding the announcement of Jose Maria Olazabal as Europe's new Ryder Cup captain.

He is no longer quite the headline act he once was on the course, but Olazabal was still able to toast a profitable four weeks as he posted a four-under par 68 around the Majlis Course yesterday.

His resultant five-under-par tournament aggregate of 283 gave the seasoned former Dubai Desert Classic champion a share of 15th place.

Equally happily for him, he had also managed to haul his 45-year-old limbs round a course for the fourth week in succession.

Having missed the cut both in Abu Dhabi and at the Volvo Golf Champions in Bahrain, he placed 63rd in Qatar before returning to the UAE for this week's Dubai Desert Classic.

Since being unveiled as Colin Montgomerie's successor at the Ryder Cup helm, Olazabal has stated he wants to increase his playing time on the course in order to get a greater understanding of the prospective players for his side in Medinah.

"It nice and actually the best part of these four weeks was that the body has held up really good," Olazabal said.

"I was pleased by pretty much everything with how I played [yesterday]. I played solid golf and hit a lot of good shots."

Another Spaniard, Miguel Angel Jimenez, relinquished his grip on his Dubai Desert Classic title as he finished 10 strokes behind the champion, Quiroz.

Jimenez carded a final round 71 to finish one-under for the tournament.