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AVIV Dubai Championship The Gulf Club

Envy sparks Hansen’s season-extending AVIV Dubai Championship win

David Cannon/Getty Images
Joachim.B Hansen celebrates with his wife Elisabeth and their two children.

By Kent Gray
JB Hansen was playing to extend his season one final week but mostly he was playing for matters of the heart.

When the Dane won his maiden European Tour title at the Joburg Open a year ago, the world was in the midst of much stricter COVID-19 restrictions.

Mercifully, the $1.5 million AVIV Dubai Championship was played before fans on Fire and Hansen’s wife Elisabeth and children were on hand to see their 31-year-old husband and father triumph with a -23 aggregate.

A closing 68 got it done for Hansen by a stroke from Austrian Ryder Cupper Bernd Wiesberger and Italy’s Francesco Laporta.

Hansen needed a victory to secure his place in this week’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship on the neighbouring Earth Course at JGE and has duly risen from 85th position to 43rd in the Race to Dubai rankings.

He’s looking forward to one last push now the pressure if off but not before celebrating Denmark’s fourth win on tour this season after joining compatriots Rasmus Højgaard (Omega European Masters) Nicolai Højgaard (DS Automobiles Italian Open) and Jeff Winther (Mallorca Golf Open) in the winner’s circle.

“It means a lot, especially with family and friends here this time. There was no one there in Joburg,” said Hansen.

“When I saw Jeff Winther win in Mallorca, I was very jealous because he had the family and friends celebrating with him and I really wanted all of that so I’m really glad I get to experience that.”

Hansen opened the week with a 63 and never looked back. Just don’t be fooled by his outwardly calm demeanour.

“I’ve heard that before about me looking calm, but no way. I said to my caddie down the last Adam ‘I’m struggling here mate, we need to talk about something else’ because I was thinking too far ahead and that was hard.

“I didn’t expect it at all. I just wanted to have a nice week with the family with a good tournament and the lovely weather down here, it turns out with a good nine under start and stayed in contention all week and it’s nice to come out on top.

“I spoke to my coach about it, when you don’t chase it or expect to win, you win. I think that’s what’s happened this week.

“I’m very proud of myself to get it done because I wasn’t playing great out there. The first two rounds were some of the best of my life. Yesterday wasn’t great, and I have really struggled to find the middle of the club on my woods. I didn’t drive it well, but my putter helped today, I putted a lot better than yesterday. That kept me in the game.”

Englishman Andy Sullivan produced a remarkable finish – picking up seven shots in his final six holes, including an eagle on the last – in a round of 65 to finish three back on 20 under par, which looked to have secured his spot in the all-important top 54 on the Race to Dubai and qualify for the DP World Tour Championship.

However, Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond also eagled the last for a round of 67 to join him on that mark, which meant Sullivan dropped to 55th position and missed out by one Race to Dubai point, and ultimately, by one place.

 

Kent Gray

Editor of Golf Digest Middle East. Has written about golf since 1989 and owned a suspect short game even longer.

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