Nicolai Højgaard returns to Al Hamra Golf Club this week for the Ras Al Khaimah Classic and, following a stunning display which yielded a four-stroke victory last week, the big-hitting Dane is feeling confident he can claim back-to-back titles in the United Arab Emirates.
That impressive win at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship presented by Phoenix Capital only strengthened the 20-year-old's reputation as one of golf's brightest young stars - alongside his twin brother Rasmus.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” said Nicolai. “It was a grind out there and I had to dig deep so it felt really good and I’m really looking forward to teeing up again on Thursday.
“The phone has been buzzing the last few days so I haven’t talked or texted anyone yet, I’m trying to get into tournament mode now and focus on the week ahead, and hopefully play some good golf again.
Nicolai needs one more win to equal his sibling's tally of three DP World Tour titles and, following a performance which - barring a stumble midway through the final round - was nigh on perfect, he feels he is in with a great chance of claiming wins in successive weeks.
Jordan Smith, meanwhile, has enjoyed a strong start to his 2022 campaign, with a top ten at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, a tie for 12th at the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic and then coming close to a second career victory last week - only to finish runner-up.
The Englishman is riding a wave of confidence, having won in Ras Al Khaimah on the Challenge Tour in 2016, and is hoping he can emerge victorious once again at Al Hamra.
“I feel like now I’ve got off to a good start, I’m really motivated to push on from where I am now,” said Smith. “I’ve tended to have a pretty good start most seasons so I’ve got to keep it going and hopefully the schedule stays as it is for me as it’s looking exciting.
“Coming back I had good memories from 2016, obviously from winning here. So I came here with good memories and thoughts and I feel really comfortable around this course, don’t know what it is about it. It’s just nice and relaxed and a bit quieter than Dubai, I love the place.”
Former Ryder Cup player Rafa Cabrera Bello makes his debut in Ras Al Khaimah this week, having claimed a share of second three weeks ago in Abu Dhabi, while Li Haotong's tied third place finish last week continues his return to the kind of form which earned him two titles and saw him become the first Chinese player to enter the world's top 50 in 2018.
Fans can access the Ras Al Khaimah Classic event free of charge. No ticket or registration is needed.
By Ashraf Ahmed
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