Date: 5th - 8th December 2012
I'd been looking forward to this event since the start of the season. I was barely 5 minutes in Dubai and I already loved the place, even the airport was impressive. I arrived at midnight to see the city landscape illuminated with mesmerising lights and colours. It's such a clean and organised place and the climate was just perfect. I was talking to my taxi driver who says it gets up to 50 degrees in the summer! I can't imagine doing anything in that heat.
Unusually, the tournament starts on a Wednesday so I only had 2 days to prepare. Thankfully I had Neil with me, so making a game plan was easier. I needed to ensure a high finish this week, in order to avoid going back to Q School, so I needed all the help I could get.
We arrived at The Emirates golf club after a good nights sleep. It was just like you see on TV when the men have their event in January. A real treat. You were made to feel very welcome, I even had my own locker with my name on. I walked onto the range to warm up, moments later a flight of 6 flamingos flew above our heads, I turned to my room mate Jess and said "Am I dreaming?!" It was quite breathtaking.
One of the unusual elements of this particular event is the live coverage. They had live streaming on screens all over the complex. Listening to Maureen commentating on a tournament I was involved in was quite bizarre. Another occasion where I had to pinch myself was when I was on the putting green, I look up, up a bit more and Michelle Wie's lofty frame is towering over me. It's so overwhelming to be competing with the big names of the golfing world. I just have to keep reminding myself that they too are just another golfer playing the same silly game.
The course was fantastic and beautifully presented and the greens were pure too. That 9th hole is even more terrifying in reality, a great golf hole but it doesn't half get the nerves jangling!
Tuesday morning, Jess, Neil and I decided to do the tourist bit and took the metro to visit the Burj Khalifa (worlds tallest building). We were taken to the top as well,124 floors up! 360 degrees of outstanding views as far as the eye could see. As you can imagine, I took lots of photographs.
I had planned to practice in the afternoon as the course was closed for the Pro-Am. However, the 'heartburn' I thought I had from the night before was still causing me discomfort, to cut a long story short, I spent the rest of the afternoon in a very nice Dubai Hospital. Thankfully everything was fine and it turned out to be a couple of stubborn ribs but it did mean that I missed out on any practice before the first round.
It didn't do me any harm, I shot 70 (-2) without a blemish. I can't ever remember doing that before! I was delighted and just the start I needed. After 2 rounds I was in a good position to climb the leaderboard. Sadly, the next couple of rounds weren't quite as plain sailing. I didn't get the result I was anticipating and it meant that I had to make arrangements for Morocco for the final stage of Q School.
Despite a disappointing end to the season, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, it was an incredible week and a wonderful experience.