Nicoll joins Dubai stars

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AYRSHIREMAN Callum Nicoll will bolster the Scottish contingent in next month’s $2.7 million HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship after winning the qualifier for United Arab Emirates PGA members.

The 30-year-old, attached to The Els Club in Dubai, secured top spot in the one-round event at Abu Dhabi National and will join a field, headed by Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, in one of the European Tour’s biggest events from January 17-20.

Paul Lawrie, who tied for eighth in this year’s event will also be playing.

Irvine-born Nicoll won the Scottish Young Professionals’ Championship at Forres in 2006. He was then attached to Prestwick and also had a spell at Turnberry before moving to Dubai, where he is golf operations manager at The Els Club. It will be the second time the prolific winner on the UAE PGA circuit has teed up in a European Tour event in the Middle East, having qualified for the Dubai Desert Classic in 2011, when the field also included McIlroy and Woods.

Former Duddingston head assistant Tom Buchanan, now at Al Ain Equestrian Shooting and Golf Club, shared second behind Nicoll with England’s Matthew Naylor.