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Club pro revels in 'surreal' Abu Dhabi opportunity

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World number one Dustin Johnson (centre) and the returning Rory McIlroy (right) are in Abu Dhabi, along with defending champion Tommy Fleetwood

Club pro Tom Buchanan has targeted playing through to the weekend in what is a dream chance to compete at the Abu Dhabi Championship.

It was the 38-year-old Scot’s reward for winning a UAE PGA qualifier.

“To make the cut would be winning the tournament for me,” Buchanan told BBC Scotland.

“If you look at the strength of the field that’s here – 89 of the top 100 players in Europe last year, plus Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.”

Buchanan, from Stranraer, was assistant professional at Dumfries and Galloway Golf Club and Duddingston Golf Club before taking on the head professional role at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club in UAE.

He has never before played in a European Tour or Challenge Tour event.

“It’s all a bit surreal at times,” said Buchanan prior to his first round.

“I’ve come through from Al Ain for the week so every time you phone home and the missus asks what’s happening, I’m telling her my locker is next to Rory McIlroy’s and Dustin Johnson’s.

“But I’m trying not to let it affect me; if I get wrapped up in all that my performance isn’t going to match what it can be.

“I’ve been ready for the first tee shot since about Monday. I’ve been itching to go. I’ve said all along if I can make the cut that would be incredible.

“I played a practice round with Stevie Gallacher on Monday and that was brilliant. He was really informative and really calmed me down an awful lot.

“I spoke with Richie Ramsay as well and met with Matt Fitzpatrick. They’ve all been absolutely brilliant with me.”

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BBC Sport – Golf

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