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Robert Karlsson set to defend Qatar Masters title
January 12, 2011

Defending champion Robert Karlsson will head a powerful field of European Tour stars and US pros when the Commercialbank Qatar Masters, presented by Dolphin Energy, is staged for the fourteenth time at Doha Golf Club from February 3-6.

The powerful Swede will aim to become the first man to successfully defend the famous trophy less than three months after winning the Dubai World Championship just across the Arabian Gulf .

In Qatar last year, a final round 65 (-7) was enough for a three-shot victory over a course that appears to suit Karlsson's style of play.

"I think in general the desert golf courses set up pretty well for long hitters," said the big hitting world number 17 who became only the second player to win two Middle East titles in one year. "If you look at the players who have won in Qatar - myself, Alvaro (Quiros), Ernie (Els), Retief (Goosen) - then in general the long hitters have done well there.

"I'd had a couple of close calls in Doha in the past and I love the golf course so it was fantastic to go back and actually win."

Karlsson book-ended a memorable season with those wins in Doha and Dubai in 2010 and the 41 year-old appears to be back to the kind of form that made him European No. 1 in 2008. An eye injury and a bout of glandular fever saw him slide down the rankings before last year's win in Doha saw him back at the top of the leaderboard.

Organised by the Qatar Golf Association (QGA) alongside the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and Commercialbank, the Commercialbank Qatar Masters, presented by Dolphin Energy, will see 132 players do battle in a US$ 2.5 million event that never fails to attract the biggest names in the world of golf.

"It's always a pleasure for us to be able to welcome back our defending champion," said Qatar Golf Association (QGA) President Hassan Al Nuami. "Robert is a former European No.1 and on his way back to the top ten in the world where he belongs."

Over the years, Doha 's annual date on The European Tour's intern ational calendar has attracted a world-class field to the 7,388-yard golf course and Commercialbank Group CEO Andrew Stevens believes the 2011 field will be as strong as ever.

"As usual, we will have a powerful field of players from The European Tour, while we are also in discussions with some of the biggest names on The PGA Tour," he said. "As we get closer to the tournament, we will be announcing a host of exciting players, several of whom will be making their playing debuts at the Commercialbank Qatar Masters."

More information on the 2011 Commercialbank Qatar Masters, presented by Dolphin Energy, is available at the official website .

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