Former Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship winners back for title bid

Former Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship winners back for title bid
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Published January 6th, 2015 - 13:11 GMT via

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Pablo Larrazabal
Pablo Larrazabal

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship are set for a glorious return to Abu Dhabi Golf Club this month for the 10th edition of the event.

Chris DiMarco (2006) Martin Kaymer (2008, 2010, 2011), Robert Rock (2012), Jamie Donaldson (2013) and Pablo Larrazabal (2014) will all shape up for another shot at the iconic Falcon Trophy and a share of the $2.7 million (Dh9.9 million) prize purse.

The champions’ return adds to the sense of anticipation ahead of this year’s landmark tournament.

“We can reflect on the success of the event and the destination through the eyes of these champions,” said Sultan Al Daheri, Acting Executive Director for Tourism at the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), which owns and organises the championship.

“Ten years ago, Abu Dhabi Golf Club was the destination’s only championship course — there are now three — and the number of overseas rounds being played here is increasing year-on-year. At the same time, the destination has moved on dramatically over the past decade and it will be great to show Chris DiMarco the changes that have ensued since he lifted the Falcon Trophy.”

DiMarco was the first Abu Dhabi champion after a thrilling final day’s play in 2006. He carded a final round 67 for a 20-under-par total of 268 and a one-shot victory over Henrik Stenson, who pushed the American all the way to the final green.

US Ryder Cup player DiMarco had his wife Amy acting as his caddie for the week.

The following year it was the turn of Englishman Paul Casey, the only champion who will not return in 2015, who claimed his eighth European Tour title with a one-shot victory over Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez and Swede Peter Hanson. He repeated the trick in 2009, when he survived a late scare to secure his second Abu Dhabi win by a single shot from Kaymer and Louis Oosthuizen.

Kaymer was aiming for back-to-back victories that year after his 2008 success and he did not have to wait long, taking out the next two events in 2010 and 2011 to establish Abu Dhabi as his ‘home away from home’.

The big-hitting German then unexpectedly missed the cut in 2012, and it was England’s surprise package Robert Rock who held off 14-time Major winner Tiger Woods and US Open Champion Rory McIlroy to claim a sensational victory.

Welshman Donaldson, recent European Ryder Cup hero, took the honours in 2013, with Spaniard Larrazabal seizing the Falcon Trophy from under the noses of Phil Mickelson and McIlroy last year after a nail-biting final day.

“Winning in Abu Dhabi was one of the greatest achievements of my career,” said Larrazabal, who has three European Tour wins under his belt.

“Abu Dhabi attracts the top players, year after year, and to secure a victory like that against the likes of Rory and Phil is something I will treasure forever.”

Giles Morgan, HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship & Events, said: “We are delighted to see so many previous champions return for the 10th anniversary of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

“In the last 10 years, the tournament has grown in stature and is now established as one of the highlights of the sporting calendar — an unmissable family event in the region, with champions and emerging young stars playing side by side for what has become one of the most prized titles in world golf.”

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