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Golf

Dubai Desert Classic Player in Focus: Thomas Bjorn

Debby Wong-US Presswire

Thomas Bjorn (pictured) won the 2001 Dubai Desert Classic when he was living in the United Arab Emirates state, and his local knowledge can see him contend again in one of his favourite tournaments.

Bjorn will always be remembered as the player that wasted a great opportunity to win the British Open at Sandwich in 2003. He looked the most likely winner before taking three shots to get out a bunker on the 16th hole of his final round.

Ben Curtis took advantage of Bjorn’s lapse to win that year’s Open and the Dane’s form dipped after the agonising failure to win a major championship. He walked off the course in one tournament as he struggled to come to terms with what happened at Sandwich.

It is testimony to Bjorn’s character and ability that he has got in his career back on track in the last few years. He has won four times on the European Tour since the start of 2010. He has played himself back into the top-50 in the world rankings, which means he qualifies for this year’s majors and World Golf Championship events.

Bjorn won three events in Europe during 2011 and his tally of European Tour wins now stands at 13. He is also a proven winner on both the Challenge and Japan Tours, and he has won 19 titles in total during his career as a professional.

Our player in focus is playing for the fourth week in succession but his current form is decent enough for him to figure in Dubai. He has made the cut for the last three weeks without getting in contention so mental let down should not be a problem.

Bjorn has played in every Dubai Desert Classic since 2007. He has missed two cuts over that spell, but finished inside the top-30 in three of the other four years. Bjorn has positive mental associations with the course and venue, and that makes him a leading contender this week.

His skills’ profile would not make him an obvious choice to win this week, but any weaknesses can be offset by his liking for the playing conditions that are likely to prevail. The climate and course conditions should suit Bjorn and he looks like enhancing his record at a tournament in which he often excels.