TOURNAMENT: Abu Dhabi Golf Championship
HOST COURSE: Abu Dhabi Golf Club, United Arab Emirates
PRIZE FUND: $2 million
COURSE DETAILS: 7,433 yards, par 72. This resort course was made considerably tougher in 1996 when five new tees and 30 new bunkers were added. Water comes into play on nine holes and strong winds are expected to make this long course even tougher.
Chris DiMarco will defend his title this week and six of his 2006 Ryder Cup opponents will be challenging him. They are European Tour Player of the Year Paul Casey, Order of Merit winner Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia, Robert Karlsson, Colin Montgomerie and Henrik Stenson. Last year DiMarco shot a final-round 67 to record a 20-under-par total and a one-shot victory over Stenson.
Father-to-be Stenson hopes to improve on last year’s result. ?It?s definitely not impossible to go one better here this year because I managed to do that in Qatar last year ? to win after being second the previous year. So I?m looking for a repeat of that,? he said.
Retief Goosen starts as favourite alongside Garcia but will face tough competition from the likes of Niclas Fasth and Jeev Milkha Singh. Meanwhile, American Notah Begay III makes his first European appearance of the year after gaining his card at Tour School.
CONTENDERS: Retief Goosen, Sergio Garcia and Chris DiMarco
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