Top golfers Lowry, Garcia laud high-quality Saudi International

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Shane Lowry with his caddy enjoys a day out on the seaside Royal Greens Golf & Country Club course in King Abdullah Economic City. (Getty Images)
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Sergio Garcia during a practice round ahead of the Saudi International Golf Tournament. (Getty Images)
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Updated 29 January 2020

Top golfers Lowry, Garcia laud high-quality Saudi International

  • European stars ‘trying to globalize game of golf,’ support ‘exciting’ new events in different markets

JEDDAH: Major winners Sergio Garcia and Shane Lowry have hailed the “exciting” growth of golf in the Kingdom on the eve of the Saudi International.

The second edition of the tournament will see the European pair joined by world No. 1 Brooks Koepka, defending champion Dustin Johnson, US stars Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson, England’s Lee Westwood and Swede Henrik Stenson at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club.

Ten major champions will be among the players competing for $3.5 million in prize money.

Garcia, the 2017 Masters winner and Ryder Cup stalwart, said the Saudi International, powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers, was a fast-growing regional event.

“Everyone is really trying hard to make it a great event, it’s definitely on its way. It just comes down to us to put on a good show.

“The quality of this event is really good. We’re excited to be back here in Saudi. I think it’s very important to support events in new countries. At the end of the day, we are trying to globalize the game of golf.”

The 40-year-old Spaniard added that his game was in a good place for a huge 2020 season for the game, that included the Olympics and a Ryder Cup. “I feel like the short game has been quite solid for both weeks. It’s just a matter of me keeping grinding and improving on every aspect of the game.”

Irish golfer Lowry, the defending Open champion, said the 7,010-yard par 70 layout suited his game, adding that international golf stars were in the fortunate position of having an opportunity to bring the game to new locations and inspire Saudis to take part.

“The golf course is very good, very much a Middle East-style golf course, and something that I liked the look of straightaway. It’s in absolutely perfect condition.

“It’s always cool and interesting to come to new places. I find the European Tour is always like that. Golf’s a great game and we’re very fortunate to do it. People of all standards, ages, sizes get involved and play with other people. That’s why I love the game,” added Lowry.

Saudi Arabia’s leading golfers, professional Othman Almulla, and amateurs Saud Al-Sharif and Faisal Salhab will all be teeing it up Thursday.

US player Reed said: “It’s a special opportunity for the local players to make an impression with the golfing world watching on. It’s awesome seeing players from Saudi playing. I hope they play well.

“Hopefully someone can make the cut for the weekend, because it’s always special time to be here at the weekend in a golf tournament,” he added.


Rain causes fresh delay to England-Pakistan 2nd Test

Updated 15 August 2020

Rain causes fresh delay to England-Pakistan 2nd Test

  • Pakistan, 1-0 down in a three-match series, will resume on 223-9 in their first innings
  • Mohammad Rizwan is not out at 60

SOUTHAMPTON, United Kingdom: Rain meant there was no play before lunch on the third day of the second Test between England and Pakistan at Southampton on Saturday in a match already plagued by stoppages for bad weather.
Play should have resumed at 11:00 am local time (1000 GMT) but light rain meant the pitch and square remained fully covered, with the floodlights then on full beam.
Had the players been on the field, play may well have continued given the rain was only of the ‘spitting’ kind.
But, with no spectators present in a series being played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus, the floodlights were then switched off in a clear indication the umpires had decided there would not be any action before lunch.
Pakistan, 1-0 down in a three-match series, will resume on 223-9 in their first innings, after winning the toss, following a second day where only 40 overs’ play took place.
Mohammad Rizwan batted with huge skill and resolve in overcast, swing-friendly conditions, to be 60 not out.
In partnership with dogged tailender Mohammad Abbas (two off 20 balls), the wicketkeeper took Pakistan past 200 in a ninth-wicket after they had come together with the tourists struggling at 176-8.
This was Rizwan’s second fifty in eight career Tests following his 95 against Australia in Brisbane in November.
Pakistan were also indebted to opener Abid Ali (60) and Babar Azam (47) for painstaking innings when the conditions were stacked against the batsmen.
Meanwhile in-form paceman Stuart Broad became the first England bowler since off-spinner Graeme Swann 11 years ago to take at least three wickets in seven consecutive Test innings thanks to a return of 3-56 in 25 overs.
Broad has taken 25 wickets in four Test so far this season at a misery average of 12.88.
Victory in this match will see England secure their first series win over Pakistan since 2010.