Sport Golf

Saturday 25 November 2017

Maybin eager to seal Dubai berth

Bernie McGuire at Castellon

At this time in every season there are varying agendas for each European Tour member and for the six Irish contesting today's Castello Masters, it is no different.

For all, there's the first thought of victory on the Club de Campo del Mediterraneo course laid out in the crater of an extinct volcano in Spain.

But there's also the added incentive of qualifying for next fortnight's $7m WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai and they can only do so with victory in Spain, with qualifying for the Chinese event cutting off on Sunday.

Peter Lawrie is 40th on the money list, so he's assured also of contesting the season-ending Dubai World Championship.

However, for Damien McGrane, (55th on the list), Gareth Maybin (59th) and Shane Lowry (62nd), these next few weeks are more about ensuring they join Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and Lawrie in the UAE.

All three dropped down the Race to Dubai rankings after last week's Portugal Masters, with McGrane and Lowry falling two places, and Maybin five places.

Maybin has fellow Irishman Darren Reynolds working as caddie for the remainder of the season, with former caddie Davy Jones going back to teaching at Royal Portrush.

"Darren and I are going to do the next few weeks and we'll see how it goes," said Maybin. "I played Dubai last year and that's still the goal this year, to stay inside the top 60. I've got a handful of events left so all I need is a decent week, while that first win would really take care of everything."

Lowry reiterated that he will skip the Dunlop Phoenix Open in Japan to play the European Tour's penultimate event, UBS Hong Kong Open, if his place in the top 60 is doubtful.

Down-based Simon Thornton has time to fully prepare for the event after competing in last week's Portugal Masters at such short notice, following Danny Willett's withdrawal. Also in the field are Michael Hoey, Paul McGinley, McGrane and Lawrie.

Meanwhile, 2012 captaincy favourite Jose Maria Olazabal believes the Ryder Cup will be the making of Rory McIlroy. The Holywood native had previously described the biennial competition as "an exhibition match", but his starring role at Celtic Manor helped him change his mind about the event.

"I don't think that we shall ever again hear McIlroy say that the Ryder Cup is an exhibition match," said Olazabal, who was drafted in late as a fifth European vice-captain for Celtic Manor, ahead of his expected endorsement -- health permitting -- as successor to captain Colin Montgomerie.

"For the younger players like Rory and Martin Kaymer, the Ryder Cup is an accelerated course in maturity."

Olazabal said he all but broke down in tears upon entering the European team room to see a giant picture of Seve Ballesteros and himself taken from one of their 15 matches together.

"It was very moving for me to see that photograph, and I was so pleased a long while ago to be there to give a big push when the Ryder Cup turned to a European team," he said.

Castello Masters,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 11.0

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport