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Top Europeans head to Qatar Masters

Seven of Europe's triumphant Ryder Cup side plus four major champions lead the chase for the $332,800 first prize at this week's Qatar Masters.

Holder Henrik Stenson joins K Club team mates Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, Robert Karlsson and Paul McGinley in the 10th edition of the Doha tournament.

World number five Ernie Els also lines up alongside fellow major winners Retief Goosen, Michael Campbell and Paul Lawrie for the second leg of the European Tour's three-week 'Gulf Swing'.

Els has dusted down his clubs after a prolonged Christmas and New Year break in an attempt to land his 24th European Tour victory.

Briton Casey launched the 'Gulf Swing' by picking up the Abu Dhabi title on Sunday.

"I couldn't have wished for a better start to the year," world number 13 Casey told his official Web site (www.paul-casey.com).

"I am looking to close out this desert swing with two more strong showings. I look forward to playing in Qatar for the first time and have very fond memories of my many visits to the Dubai Desert Classic."

Els won the 2005 Qatar title in a duel with Stenson before the big-hitting Swede made amends by lifting the trophy 12 months later.

Garcia and Karlsson tied for 14th in Abu Dhabi while Clarke, Westwood and McGinley will be making their 2007 debuts in individual competition.

The strongest field in the history of the Qatar Masters, which offers a record purse of $2.2 million, includes U.S. Ryder Cup player Chris DiMarco and Australian Stuart Appleby.

The event co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour also features Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee and Thaworn Wiratchant, Mardan Mamat of Singapore and India's Jeev Milkha Singh, winner of last year's Volvo Masters at Valderrama.

January 24, 2007


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