RAS AL KHAIMAH, UAE: Daniel Gavins and Callum Shinkwin claimed the Hero Challenge title at Al Hamra Golf Club in Ras Al Khaimah after the English duo teamed up to card eight birdies in the nine-hole Texas Scramble event for a winning eight-under total.
The innovative team event was broadcast on television around the globe as well as on YouTube and social media, where fans could watch the stars of the DP World Tour in a more relaxed atmosphere – chatting regularly to on-course commentators and with some players miked up throughout their round.
“It feels fantastic, it was great fun today,” said Shinkwin. “I’m glad that the Tour and Hero put this up for us today because we’re here for two weeks, it was great fun to play and obviously Dan is a good friend of mine, so it was great. One of our caddies said ten under was going to win but thankfully he was wrong!”
In a classic better-ball scramble format, birdies were key and Gavins and Shinkwin looked unstoppable from the word go, birdieing every one of the first seven holes to storm into the lead. A par at the eighth briefly stunted their progress but a four at the par-5 18th hole laid down the gauntlet early on.
Many teams tried, but none could get within touching distance of the Englishmen, who earned a two-stroke victory over the field with an eight-under score of 28.
Second place was shared by nine teams on six under par, including that of winning 2018 Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn and his team-mate James Morrison, and in-form Englishman Richard Bland who teamed up with former Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson to card four birdies and an eagle two.
“It was good fun,” said Bland. “When we’re here for two weeks it’s nice to have a little bit of fun in between the two tournaments and to play with Ollie is always a pleasure. It was good fun.”