Martin Kaymer, a three-time winner of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, leads after a first round 64, on a day which saw two holes-in-one
Martin Kaymer, a three-time winner of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship leads after the first round at Abu Dhabi GC. The 30-year-old German shot ten birdies in his opening round of 64, and showed his continuing mastery around this course on which his average score in tournament play is 67.79.
Belgian Thomas Pieters carded seven birdies in his 13 holes en route to a 65, which left him second on the opening day leaderboard. The 22-year-old has yet to win on tour.
Third place on the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship opening day leaderboard was shared by the four golfers who shot 66 – Branden Grace, who birdied the final six holes, Alexander Levy, Tyrell Hatton and Gregory Bourdy.
Rory McIlroy and his playing partner Rickie Fowler both shot 67, a product of their hot putters. Both players took only 27 putts. Also shooting 67 was Alex Noren, who was playing his first tour event since last May’s BMW PGA Championship, having been kept out of the game by tendonitis in both wrists which required surgery.
One player who is already guaranteed a prize from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is Tom Lewis. He holed in one on the 193-yard 7th with a 7-iron and won himself a new Cadillac Escalade worth almost $90,000.
Miguel Angel Jimenez also aced a hole, the 174-yard 15th. But sly for him, there was no hole-in-one prize on this hole. Eleven aces have been scored in the tournament’s 10-year history, but this was the first at the 15th.
It was also Jimenez ’s eighth hole in one on the European Tour – only Colin Montgomerie , with nine, has more such aces. The flamboyant Spaniard celebrated with a wee dance. His back nine went: double bogey, birdie, birdie, birdie, par, eagle, bogey, bogey, par and he ended the day level par.
It was a day of low scoring, with 24 players ending it within four shots of the lead. But world number two Henrik Stenson struggled to 76, which left him tied in 113th place.