Bronte Law leaves it late to seal dramatic Dubai Moonlight Classic win and maiden LET title

Bronte Law leaves it late to seal dramatic Dubai Moonlight Classic win and maiden LET title
Bronte Law celebrates winning the Dubai Moonlight Classic at Emirates Golf Club. (LET)
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Updated 30 October 2021

Bronte Law leaves it late to seal dramatic Dubai Moonlight Classic win and maiden LET title

Bronte Law leaves it late to seal dramatic Dubai Moonlight Classic win and maiden LET title
  • The golfer from England overcame a three-set deficit at the start of the final round to beat Maria Fassi by one stroke

DUBAI: England’s Bronte Law holed a sensational eagle on the penultimate hole of the Dubai Moonlight Classic presented by the European Golf Association to seal a one-shot victory over Mexico’s Maria Fassi on a night of high tension on the Faldo Course at the Emirates Golf Club.

Starting the final round on 7-under par, three shots adrift of overnight leaders Fassi and Sweden’s Jessica Karlsson, Law carded six birdies and that thrilling eagle in a blemish-free 8-under-par 64. In finishing the 54-hole tournament at 15-under par, Law’s maiden Ladies European Tor victory denied Fassi a wire-to-wire victory.

Law, who won a $42,750 share of the $285,000 prize purse, said: “It is hard to put into words. I had said to my caddy we need to try and shoot 7-under, and we went out there and shot one better. It’s a bit surreal actually.”

The 26-year-old was relieved to finally secure her maiden LET win and first tournament triumph since the Pure Silk Championship on the LPGA Tour in 2019. 

“It’s one of the hardest things. At times I didn’t know whether I could do it. This is my seventh week in a row playing. Before, I couldn’t even play three weeks in a row without struggling to get through with back problems or my body just hurting. To sustain that volume of golf, I’m so glad that my hard work is starting to pay off,” said Law.

“I have so many friends on the Ladies European Tour that I’ve grown up playing golf with, so to share that with them is something very special,” she added. “It feels a lot closer to home than playing in the [United] States. It’s a really nice feeling and I don’t think it’s quite hit me yet. I don’t know what I’m feeling, but I love Dubai and I love coming here. I really enjoyed my experience here last year and I just love coming here and playing something different.”

Having hardly put a foot wrong the entire tournament, Fassi followed up her course record equaling 63 with a second round of 71, and after trading a bogey and birdie on the front nine, she stepped up a gear with four birdies on the back nine. That looked enough to see off her nearest challengers; Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa could only card a 2-under 70 for an 11-under 205 and Sweden’s Karlsson returned a 2-over 74 for an 8-under 208.

Fassi, playing her first-ever tournament under floodlights, was philosophical in defeat.

“I think I played good golf all week. It’s never nice to lose, but it’s nicer to lose that way when you played really well. Shooting 8-under, Bronte very much deserved to become champion. I am very happy with the way my game has been the last few weeks and I really enjoyed my first experience here in Dubai. I’m looking forward to coming back next year,” said the 23-year-old.

Elsewhere, Dubai-based Chiara Noja was positive despite a difficult day in which she carded a 3-over 75 to finish her professional debut at 4-over par. The 15-year-old, who turned pro on the eve of the tournament, said: “I am in a better place than I was previously. I do need to work on certain aspects of my game but I’m feeling positive. Turning professional was a little bit of added pressure, but I think I’ve dealt with it pretty well.”

Fouzeya Faridoon, manager of women’s sports at the Dubai Sports Council, said: “The Dubai Moonlight Classic is considered one of the most important events across the Dubai sporting landscape, with a great field of players on the international stage. It also supports the thriving sports community within the emirate. We wish all the very best to the players and hope they’ve experienced the best out of Dubai.”


Eddie Howe: Only league position might be obstacle to new January signings

Eddie Howe: Only league position might be obstacle to new January signings
Updated 41 sec ago

Eddie Howe: Only league position might be obstacle to new January signings

Eddie Howe: Only league position might be obstacle to new January signings
  • New coach denies Agbonlahor claim that ‘no one wants to live in Newcastle’ ahead of must-win home matches against Norwich, Burnley
  • Eddie Howe: We will have no problem attracting players to Newcastle for a whole host of reasons

NEWCASTLE: Newcastle United Boss Eddie Howe believes that the club’s league position will be the main obstacle to overcome when attempting to attract players in January — not the location of the city.

However, the head coach said that his focus is not on the winter transfer window. Instead, he remains fixed on getting the best out of his current group and kick-starting their Premier League campaign.

Former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor claimed on the radio this week that players would rather sign for newly promoted Brentford for less money than go to United, because “no one wants to live in Newcastle.”

But Howe said that this could not be further from the truth.

“That is not accurate,” said Howe, whose bottom of the pile Magpies take on 19th-placed Norwich City at St James’ Park tomorrow evening. “I have not seen Newcastle in the light yet, but I have only heard amazing things about it as a place to live and the town centre.

“We will have no problem attracting players to Newcastle for a whole host of reasons,” he added. “I don’t think that is going to be an issue, but what I do think will be an issue is our league position.

“That is not my focus at the moment, it is preparing the team for a big week ahead.”

When pressed, Howe revealed that he does have “one eye” on trading in January, but cannot lose track of the gravity of the task on hand, with United winless in their opening 13 games.

“We have half an eye on January and that is the same for me no matter what time of year,” Howe said. “As a manager, you are always thinking about how you can evolve your team and improve your squad.”

“Trust me when I say, my main focus is trying to get the best out of the players we have here and our next game and the games beyond.

“I am working extremely hard to make sure they produce their best performances — and I think that is the best use of my time at the moment.

“It has been a very busy time. It has been a very busy few days for us. We are looking forward to the challenges of this week.”

Only Derby County in 2000-01 have ever worked their way to Premier League safety from a winless run as long as United’s at the start of a top-flight season.

And this week — in which United take on the Canaries and fellow strugglers Burnley on home turf — feels like a crucial junction in their survival fight.

Howe said: “We are aware of how important these games are, but it is a dangerous thing to look too far ahead.

“You just have to look, firstly, training then the game tomorrow. It is always a step-by-step process,” he added. “The moment you start looking too far ahead, you can take your eyes off the priorities — and the priorities are the players and being in the best shape we can for the next game.”

Howe’s tenure has opened up with a home draw against Brentford and a predictable loss at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday against Arsenal.

And while the Magpies’ points tally has only been improved by one in that time, Howe has seen positives upon which to build.

“Going back to the last game I look at the amount of chances we created. We showed good attacking threat,” said Howe. “Yes, there were moments the other way that weren’t great. But I saw enough of us as an attacking side — and I did at Arsenal, too, to be honest.

“I wouldn’t say that we created really clear cut chances, but I know that we created enough against a really tough opponent to know that we will be in games from an attacking perspective,” he added. “We have to improve the defensive side of things. Martin Dubravka returned and played very well.

“So for us there were positives in defeat. We do know that we can’t keep saying that and we have to turn these small margins the other way.”


Frank Williams, F1 pioneer who fought adversity to build dominant team

Frank Williams, F1 pioneer who fought adversity to build dominant team
Updated 21 min 32 sec ago

Frank Williams, F1 pioneer who fought adversity to build dominant team

Frank Williams, F1 pioneer who fought adversity to build dominant team
  • Williams’ dry wit and charm, indefatigable spirit and resilience served him well on his journey from being a trainee sales rep for Campbell’s soup to the pinnacle of F1
  • Frank Williams: ‘It’s been a great journey, one I’d love to do again if I was younger. I wouldn’t try and do anything different except try and avoid the accidents’

PARIS: Frank Williams was a colossus of Formula One, but lurking beneath all the success the British racing legend’s life was touched by tragedy.
Williams, who died on Sunday aged 79, was left a tetraplegic and confined to a wheelchair after a road accident in France in 1986.
The courage, energy and determination with which he dealt with this cruel roll of fate’s dice drew admiration from his family, friends, colleagues and the wider public.
With technical guru Patrick Head he created, from scratch, one of the greatest Formula One teams of all time.
Williams captured seven drivers’ titles, the last claimed by Canadian Jacques Villeneuve in 1997, while the team’s nine constructors’ crowns places Williams second only to mighty Ferrari.
His noted dry wit and charm, indefatigable spirit and resilience served him well on his journey from being a trainee sales rep for Campbell’s soup earning £10 a week, to the pinnacle of the high-octane world of F1.
Francis Owen Garbett Williams was born in South Shields in northeast England on April 16, 1942.
In his early days in motor racing, he had to conduct business from his local red telephone box when cash wasn’t flowing.
He established Frank Williams Racing Cars in 1966, competing in F3 and F2, and F1 with a borrowed chassis from 1969.
The death of his first driver Piers Courage, driving for Williams at the Dutch GP at Zandvoort in 1970, was said to have marked him for life.
The first all-Williams built F1 car had an inauspicious start, when with Henri Pescarolo at the wheel, it was destroyed in a crash in 1972.
With funding an ever-present problem and having lost control of his company he left, with Head, to set up the team that is still racing today, in 1977.
Clay Regazzoni drove a Cosworth-powered Williams to its first F1 success, fittingly at the British Grand Prix, in 1979.
Australian Alan Jones won the team’s first drivers’ title the following season. Williams also collected the constructors’ championship that year.
Keke Rosberg took the 1982 title, with five more captured in a golden period between 1987 and 1997, all after Williams’ ill-fated 1986 dash to catch a flight in France that led to the car crash.
“I was late for a plane I didn’t need to be late for, I got the French time mixed up with the English time,” he was to recall.
Williams lost control of the rental car, causing it to leave the highway and drop 2.4 meters into a field. Williams suffered a spinal fracture between the fourth and fifth vertebra after being pressed between his seat and the crushed roof.
Williams was consigned to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
“But life has to go on,” he said. “I was able to continue in the business I was already in, but generally speaking it’s been a handicap in the true sense of the word.”
At the height of their powers, Ayrton Senna, who had won three titles with McLaren, came on board for the 1994 season, only to perish in a horrific high-speed crash at Imola.
Williams had a deep connection with the Brazilian great and was never able fully to come to terms with his death.
“Frank had a love affair with Ayrton,” his daughter Claire, who would later head the team, told The Sun newspaper in 2019.
“He got into his heart, got into his mind, and he always wanted to put him in his race car. Dad’s wish then came true, but it ended in the worst possible way.”
Not for the first time personal anguish failed to diminish Williams’ single-mindedness to succeed, with Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve capturing the 1996 and 1997 world championships. He was knighted in 1999 and became Sir Frank.
“It’s been a great journey, one I’d love to do again if I was younger. I wouldn’t try and do anything different except try and avoid the accidents,” Williams told the BBC in 2010.
His death comes after his family ended 43 years of involvement in the team in September 2020, following its sale to Dorilton Capital.
Former Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone told AFP shortly before the sale that the team had lost its raison d’etre when Williams stepped down from the board in 2012.
Both of them were among the co-founders of the Formula One Constructors’ Association in 1974.
“Dear old Frank had to work so hard to make sure the team competed and that happened,” he said.
“Frank was hands-on in the way he managed the team.
“He could get things done.”


Inspirational Reema Juffali named ambassador for the first ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah

Inspirational Reema Juffali named ambassador for the first ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah
Updated 29 November 2021

Inspirational Reema Juffali named ambassador for the first ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah

Inspirational Reema Juffali named ambassador for the first ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah
  • The first Saudi female racing driver took part in this year’s British F3 Championship and will represent the SAGP on her home town circuit

JEDDAH: The organizers of the Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2021 have announced the country’s first female racing driver, Reema Juffali, as a Race Ambassador for this weekend’s inaugural event in the Kingdom.

The 29-year-old, who took part in the British F3 Championship this year, will play a key role representing the event across the course of the race week and Grand Prix weekend, to be held in Jeddah from Dec. 3-5.

“It is an incredible honor for me to be named as an ambassador for Saudi Motorsport for the first ever Formula 1 race weekend in Saudi Arabia,” Juffali said. “Growing up in Jeddah, I walked the very same streets which will form the circuit that the world’s best drivers will now race on. It’s hard to over-state what a momentous occasion this is for the city.”

In her home city, Juffali will take part in a number of milestone events both on and off the track in her capacity as an inspirational role model for the next generation of drivers from within the Kingdom and beyond.

“I’m really looking forward to taking part in the activities over the race weekend and I hope that my story and journey can provide some inspiration to anyone thinking of following their dream,” she added. “I also hope that the arrival of F1 in Saudi Arabia will inspire more of the next generation to pursue a career in the sport and continue our country’s racing evolution.”

Juffali’s activities will include becoming one of the first people to drive the track in a test lap, taking part in the shakedown of the iconic Williams FW07 historic Formula 1 car and demonstrating her driving credentials alongside fellow professional racers in the Saudi Supercar Club.


Bahrain Raid Xtreme to drive sustainable fuel at 2022 Dakar Rally

Bahrain Raid Xtreme to drive sustainable fuel at 2022 Dakar Rally
Updated 29 November 2021

Bahrain Raid Xtreme to drive sustainable fuel at 2022 Dakar Rally

Bahrain Raid Xtreme to drive sustainable fuel at 2022 Dakar Rally
  • Team to carry out testing in UAE focused on endurance and navigation

DUBAI: Bahrain Raid Xtreme will run a three-car team at the 2022 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia in January, with its cars powered by a new sustainable fuel.

The fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent compared to petrol, as it is made from second-generation biofuel manufactured from agricultural waste and efuels created by carbon capture.

The rally starts on Jan. 1, and over two weeks the cars will race 7,500 km across the deserts of Saudi Arabia, starting in Ha’il and finishing in Jeddah, with a mid-event rest day in Riyadh.

By using the fuel, on what is the most demanding motor race in the world, BRX aims to demonstrate that such fuels can be used as an alternative to petrol and diesel in road transport, and immediately make a contribution to fighting climate change.

The team’s regular drivers, nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb and two-time Dakar winner, Nani Roma, will be joined by Orlando Terranova as the team enters three Prodrive Hunter T1+ cars.

Experienced Argentinian driver Terranova competed with the BRX team alongside Loeb and Roma at Baja Aragon in Spain in July in the Hunter T1 car, setting two fastest sector times, with Loeb collecting six more out of a possible 11.

All three will be joined by their current co-drivers, with Fabian Lurquin alongside Loeb, Alex Haro with Roma, and Dani Oliveras with Terranova.

The team has already completed extensive testing of the Hunter T1+ in the Gulf region, and will be carrying out further testing in the UAE over the coming weeks focussed on endurance and navigational exercises, before heading to Saudi Arabia for the rally. Both Loeb and Roma have tested the car, while Terranova will get several days in the Hunter during December.

“I have a really good feeling in the new car,” Loeb said. “We have tested in all the different conditions we expect to see on the Dakar. With the new larger tyres, we were able to maintain our speed through the rough and rocky sections with much less risk of punctures. Fabian and I have several more days’ testing where we will spend a lot of our time focussing on navigation, as this will once again be very important in Saudi.”

Meanwhile, BRX team director, David Richards, said: “Our driver line up this year is one of the strongest with the experience of almost 50 Dakar rallies between the three of them. The new Hunter T1+ has proved fast and reliable in testing and the driver/co-driver partnerships are working well, which is so important in the Saudi desert where accurate navigation is so critical.”

T1+ cars run on larger tyres, with increased suspension travel and a wider track. The car now benefits from 37” tyres on 17” rims, with suspension travel increased from 280 mm to 350 mm and the body width increased from 2 m to 2.3 m to accommodate this.

These changes have necessitated a radical redesign of the Hunter, and Prodrive has used this as an opportunity to make further improvements, including a larger windscreen for improved visibility and a refinement of a number of systems throughout the car.


2021 FIFA Arab Cup offers Saudi youngsters the chance to stake their claim for next year’s World Cup

2021 FIFA Arab Cup offers Saudi youngsters the chance to stake their claim for next year’s World Cup
Updated 29 November 2021

2021 FIFA Arab Cup offers Saudi youngsters the chance to stake their claim for next year’s World Cup

2021 FIFA Arab Cup offers Saudi youngsters the chance to stake their claim for next year’s World Cup
  • Laurent Bonadei will oversee a youthful squad as Green Falcons take on Jordan, Palestine and Morocco with Herve Renard observing from the stands

It has been a busy year for Saudi Arabian football, but the end is in sight as the national team kicks off the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup against Jordan on Wednesday.

A young squad — apart from two 24-year-old goalkeepers, none of the players were born before 1999 — arrived in Doha on Sunday and, for those who shine in Qatar, there could be a return in 2022 as the full-strength team edges toward clinching qualification for the World Cup.

When these Green Falcons take on Jordan on Wednesday and then subsequent games against Palestine three days later and Morocco’s “A” team (one shorn of European-based stars), the likes of Salman Al-Faraj and Salem Al-Dawsari won’t be there. Even head coach Herve Renard will be taking a back seat, as the senior boss has left the in-game duties to Laurent Bonadei. His fellow Frenchman has plenty of experience and did some good things when in charge of Paris Saint-Germain’s Under-17 and Under-19 teams.

“We will participate in the Arab Cup with young players born in 1999 and after and my assistant Laurent Bonadei will coach the team,” Renard said last week.

The team that touched down in Qatar bears some resemblance to the Under-23 side that played at the Tokyo Olympics in the summer and then qualified for the 2022 AFC U-23 Asian Cup in October and November. So the move makes sense. 

“I am in constant contact with (Under-23 head coach) Saad Al-Shehri, so a large percentage of the players from the Olympic team were selected,” said Renard. “The selection was made by the technical staff of the first team and came on the basis that these players will be the pillar of the first team in the future.”

Despite his different duties, Renard will still be busy. While Bonadei will be in charge of the team during games, the big boss will take training and will be observing the matches from up in the stands. Renard sees it as a great opportunity to oversee from above without having to get involved with the minute-by-minute action of a tournament game. 

Bonadei says he is ready. “I thank the Saudi Football Association and Mr. Renard for their confidence in me to lead the Green Falcons at the Arab Cup,” he said. “We will give everything we have to reach our goal and we are looking forward to the challenge and I am looking forward to the opportunity.”

There are opportunities for others. The coming weeks — there could be as many as six games if Saudi Arabia make it to the last four (there is even a third-place playoff) — offer a great chance for some players to really show the watching Renard what they can do. 

The two main strikers, Abdullah Al-Hamdan and Firas Al-Buraikan, will be hoping to make a splash in Qatar. Both have appeared for the senior team without being able to make a starting spot their own. Al-Hamdan has fallen out of favor in recent months, partly because he has been getting few minutes for Al-Hilal. 

Al-Buraikan was in a similar situation with Al-Nassr but a move to Al-Fateh has helped. Already this season, which is not even at the halfway point, the 21-year-old has spent more minutes on the pitch than he did in total over the previous four years with Al-Nassr. His sharpness in the domestic league has led to better performances for the Under-23 team and the senior side, with his goal in October giving Saudi Arabia a famous 1-0 win over Japan in World Cup qualification. Al-Buraikan now has the chance to enjoy a sustained run in the team and be the main man in attack. It will be fascinating to see how he deals with the pressure. The challenge for Al-Hamdan is to remind the coach what he can do and spend some extended time with the team in training.

Turki Al-Ammar in midfield is another who has a great chance to move from the fringes of the national team squad to a more central position. His form for Al-Shabab has been one of the reasons why the club have climbed from the lower reaches of the Saudi Professional League to second place. It would also be great for the league and Saudi Arabian football in general if Damac midfielder Bader Munshi were to get a chance. It has to be healthy if players from the smaller teams who are playing well get a chance with the national team.

Lifting the Arab Cup would be a fitting end to a great year for Saudi Arabian football, but just as valuable is the chance to play competitive games in a tournament setting. Those players that seize the opportunity may be returning to Qatar next November for the really big one.