Updated: Friday, 31 January 2014 00:10 | By Agence France-Presse

Son Javier keeps Ballesteros name alive in Dubai

The name Ballesteros returned to grace the Dubai Desert Classic on Thursday in the form of the legendary Seve's son Javier.


Son Javier keeps Ballesteros name alive in Dubai

Javier Ballesteros (centre), accompanied by his sister Carmen (left), carries the ashes of his father Seve Ballesteros during the funeral service held for the legendary Spanish golfer on May 11, 2011 in Pedrena, Spain - by Jorge Andreu

It was the first time that the 23-year-old Madrid amateur had teed off in a top-tier European Tour event and it came on an invitation as part of the celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of the Gulf's premier tournament.

Javier represented his father in Tuesday's former Champions Challenge when he shot a creditable 74 in the company of his fellow Spaniards Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez.

It was an emotional occasion for Ballesteros and especially for his father's old Ryder Cup partner Olazabal, who cried at the mention of Seve when he made his victory speech as skipper of the 2012 European team in Chicago.

"It was really emotional, especially on that first tee," Olazabal said after the round. "When I saw Javier, I saw Seve. He brought back a lot of memories.

"I could see a lot of Seve on the golf course. He has the same mannerisms as his father, particularly when he is standing over the ball. His short game is very nice. His chipping and putting are very good - like his father."

"He really needs to improve (to make it as a professional)," Olazabal countered.

"He was very erratic off the tee. He is concentrating on his studies in Madrid at the moment. He has another year and a half, two years at least there. We will see after that."

Ballesteros started well in Thursday's first round proper with a birdie at the first hole.

Thereafter it proved a tougher ask for the part-time amateur player. A rash of birdies around the turn left him over par and he eventually came in with a two-over 74 and an uphill battle to make the cut for the weekend.

Father Seve, who won here in 1992 after a playoff with Ronan Rafferty, died from a brain tumour in May 2011.

Javier was the elder of his two sons and a daughter and made his debut on the secondary Challengers Tour in April, missing the cut.

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