After last week’s Ras al Khaimah Championship presented by Phoenix Capital, the tournament nominating team put their ideas together and got creative to bring us…the Ras al Khaimah Classic.

The pitch remains virtually unchanged, although several players have returned from the Saudi international and will take their places on the pitch this week.

DEFENDING CHAMPION: Inaugural event.

CLASSES: Players have mostly had at least two rounds around Al Hamra and they found it to their liking in terms of scoring.

TO THE RIGHT: Last week’s winner, Nicolai Hojgaard, is obviously comfortable with the Al Hamra layout. PHOTO: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

Unsurprisingly, the par-5s proved accessible to players of this level and the third hole, in particular, played almost half a stroke under par.

Just seven holes for the week averaging over par and with a two-under cut line and 24-under winning score, it proved the kind of course where pars will make players feel like they’re falling back.

Although it may seem “easy” because of the numbers, this style of golf is difficult to maintain as it can be very mentally taxing.

The price is unlikely to change significantly from last week, so it will be “more of the same” this week.

PRIZE CASH: $2,000,000

PLAYERS TO WATCH: After a superb display of recovery golf on the way to victory last week Nicolas ‘Houdini’ Hojgaard will be a popular choice to go back to back, but that seems an unlikely scenario.

The pressure to continually birdie – coupled with the pressure to win, especially in difficult circumstances – is a bigger hurdle than some realize.

For all good golf both Hojgaard and runner-up Jordan Smith played last week, it would be surprising to see them near the top of the leaderboard again.

Instead, look at the players who finished strong on Sunday after playing less than spectacular golf the first three days.

After a good week in Saudi Arabia, Adri Arnaus is a player to watch this week. PHOTO: Oisin Keniry/Getty Images.

Haotong Li had the best score on Sunday, a 63 which moved him up 25 places in the standings and could serve him well this week.

Although fickle in recent years, Li remains a fabulous player with the ability to drop very low and he will like his chances this week.

Also starting the week with a good performance although in Saudi Arabia is Adri Arnausa historic player on this Al Hamra course.

Arnaus was third behind Harold Varner III last week, but as a member of the Challenge Tour in 2018 he won the final event of the season at this golf course.

Jordan Smith – winner here in 2016 on the secondary circuit – showed last week that familiarity helps and Arnaus hopes to benefit from it.

AUSTRALIANS ON THE GROUND: Scott Hend, Jason Scrivener, Maverick Antcliff and Wade Ormsby.

TV SCHEDULE*
Round 1: Thursday (Fox Sports 503 7:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.)
2nd round: Friday (Fox Sports 503 7:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.)
Round 3: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 8 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.)
Round 4: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 8 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.)
*AEDT, consult local guides

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