Abu Dhabi champion Victor Perez not slacking in bid for follow-up Dubai Desert Classic win

Frenchman comes into this week's event at Emirates Golf Club off back of thrilling victory in capital

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Victor Perez conceded to have watched back Sunday's bunker shot “a lot”, and you could not blame him.

It came on the penultimate hole at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, when Perez led the Rolex Series event by one and had found the sand off the tee on Yas Links' final par 3.

The Frenchman promptly holed his second, though, going on to seal the greatest win of his career thus far.

“Any time someone is going talk about Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship 2023, [they’ll say] ‘remember he holed that bunker shot.’” Perez said on Tuesday. “I've seen it plenty of times now.”

Such is professional golf, however, that time moves on in a flash. Two days from his capital crowning, Perez was up the road at Emirates Golf Club, preparing for this week’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

Understandably, there hasn’t been much rest and recuperation in between, with Perez admitting he didn’t really get any sleep on Sunday night.

At least, then, there’s another $9 million Rolex Series event to get the juices flowing again. And, with world No 1 Rory McIlroy in the field and seeking a third Dallah trophy, there’s no room for slacking.

“It's going to be challenging balancing that because you don't want to feel entitled,” Perez said. “You don't want to feel like, ‘Oh, I've won, so now I can relax’.

“You want to use the win as, ‘Now I can build on to the win’, but you definitely don't want to start getting a little complacent – 'I can get away with this practice’ or ‘I don't have to do these little things’.

“Everybody is too good now. The margins are so small. There's not much time to sleep and start thinking you can get away with it.”

It helps that he has played well on the Majlis course, with a tied-16th in 2020 and a T29 the previous year.

“Obviously it's such an iconic event,” Perez said. “The course has changed a little bit, but definitely a place that everybody enjoys coming to and tries to perform.

“I had some good results. I've had a terrible Sunday a couple years back where I shot 79 with a chance to win. We'll see.”

Updated: January 24, 2023, 10:55 AM