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Fichardt Focused on Repeat

After traveling halfway around the world last week, the European Tour makes a short trip from the Dubai Desert Classic to this week's Qatar Masters in Doha, Qatar.
South African Darren Fichardt, the defending champion, will be joined by 1998 Open champion Paul Lawrie, Constantino Rocco and a trio of 2004 winners from the European Tour.
For Fichardt, who edged out fellow South African James Kingston with a birdie on the first playoff hole, his first ever win on the tour is one that almost never happened. Just 10 days prior to the event and at the urging of his wife, Fichardt reluctantly entered the field.
Basically, before coming here, my wife told me that I had to play whenever I could because you never know when the chance to win will come along. I am definitely very glad we made that decision,' said Fichardt following his victory.
Now, as defending champion, the decision to play this year was obviously a much easier choice for the 28-year-old. In his three events in 2004, Fichardt's best finish was a fourth place at the South African Airways Open.
Another name to watch this week will be one of the abovementioned trio of winners from the 2004 schedule, England's Brian Davis. Davis, currently fourth on the European Order of Merit (money list), held off Paul Casey to win the ANZ Championship four weeks ago and also had a strong showing last week in Dubai.
His 12-under total was just five back of champion Mark O'Meara and good enough for a tie for fifth with world No. 1 Tiger Woods and yet another winner on the current schedule, Thongchai Jaidee.
Jaidee, from Thailand, has been a welcome addition to the tour thus far in 2004. In just three starts, the 34-year-old has racked up three top 5 finishes, highlighted by his win at the Carlsberg Malaysian Open two weeks ago.
Johnnie Walker Classic winner Miguel Angel Jimenez rounds out the field.
The players will be vying for a purse of $1,494,000 with the winner receiving a first place check worth $249,500 and also the stunning Mother of Pearl gold trophy.
Doha Golf Club is a spectacular layout that includes over 10,000 different types of plants and trees and has eight artificial lakes all the while being in the middle of the Qatar desert.
The Golf Channel begins coverage of the European Tour's Qatar Masters on Thursday at 9AM(ET).
Related links:
  • TGC Airtimes

  • Full Coverage - Qatar Masters