German Ace Keeps Falcon Trophy After Historic Third Triumph
15 - November 2011
ABU DHABI, January 23rd, 2011: Records tumbled today [Sunday] as defending champion Martin Kaymer wrote a new chapter in Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship history with his third win in four years on Abu Dhabi Golf Club's National Course.
The German carded a bogey-free round of 66 to finish 24-under par - a score which beat his own four-day National Course record, set last year, by three shots - to finish eight shots clear of nearest challenger, Ulster's Rory McIlroy.
Kaymer's historic hat-trick saw him leapfrog America's Tiger Woods into second place in the World Rankings and means the 26-year old will keep the event's coveted Falcon Trophy - presented to him by His Highness Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor, Vice Chairman of Executive Council and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, and in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), the tournament organiser.
The overnight leader attributed his run-away success to an incredible affinity with the National Course's exquisite fairways and greens. Kaymer's sole Championship bogie came on the third hole on Thursday, marking an impressive run of form for the Dusseldorf man.
"I just know how to play this golf course really well; the success I've had shows that I play the course in the right way and that's what I did again this week," said Kaymer, who added that he plans to spend more time in Abu Dhabi ahead of the 2012 tournament.
"I'm already thinking about next year - about coming a little bit earlier, to stay in the hotel in the Emirates Palace and enjoy Abu Dhabi, because I never really had time to see it all. So yeah, that's definitely a possibility."
Rory McIlroy, whose challenge was built on a brilliant 65 on Saturday, was unable to counter Kaymer's invincible display, but still managed to finish two shots clear of South Africa's Retief Goosen and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell on 16-under par.
"What Martin Kaymer has achieved here is unprecedented and more than deserved," said Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, ADTA. "When he first won here in 2008, we knew he had a special talent; when he won a second time last year, he had grown as a player and now, with his third Abu Dhabi title, he has confirmed his potential to join the all-time greats.
"Martin is a remarkable young man and I know he really enjoys visiting us each January. He has more than earned the right to keep our fantastic Falcon Trophy."
Kaymer's ninth European Tour victory came in his hundredth Tour event. He has entered golf's record books by becoming the first player in Tour history to win on their first appearance of the season on three occasions and he also becomes the third youngest player in European Tour history to win the same event three times, after Sir Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods.
Since winning the U.S. PGA Championship last summer - his maiden Major title - Kaymer has triumphed in half of his last eight European events. His 2011 Abu Dhabi winner's cheque - part of the event's record US $2.7 million prize fund, up US $500,000 on last year and the biggest of the Desert Swing - takes his Tour earnings past the ?10 million mark, making him the youngest ever to achieve this feat.
Goosen, who like McDowell ended on 14 under, enjoyed a superb final round, including eight birdies. The South African's late charge saw him climb 12 places on the final-day leader board, while McDowell, holder of the last year's U.S. Open title, produced a consistent round to continue his sterling 2010 form into the new season.
David Lynn and Gareth Maybin shared fifth place honours, while Matteo Manassero, who in December was named as ADTA's global golf ambassador, earned a creditable 5-under for the Championship - a fine performance by the European Tour's youngest full member and the youngest player ever to win a Tour event.
Kaymer's hat-trick provided a fitting end to this year's sixth edition of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, which also saw a record three hole-in-ones. With its strongest ever field, including the world number one, Lee Westwood, all four Major winners of 2010 and six of the world's top 10 players, as well as a hugely enhanced off-course entertainment line-up, the tournament's success was a major boost for the emirate's emergence as a world-class golf destination of distinction.
The event's sixth edition also marked the first year of HSBC's position as co-title sponsor of the Championship. "This tournament embodies the very reasons why HSBC is championing golf worldwide, with world-class performances by the finest players in the game to a shining example of sportsmanship, respect for the rules, ethics and integrity," said Simon Cooper, Deputy Chairman and CEO, Middle East and North Africa, HSBC.
"It is these values that make golf such a wonderful game and is why we are so committed to supporting its growth in the UAE. HSBC is changing the map of the golf world and ADTA shares our ambition to grow this championship each and every year, developing passion and interest in golf across the Middle East in the coming months and years, with thousands of youngsters already taking their first golf swings."
Miguel Vidaor, European Tour Tournament Director said: "This has been a truly superb week which has produced a wonderful champion once again in Martin Kaymer, whose victory saw him move to Number Two on the World Rankings. I have been Tournament Director of all six Abu Dhabi tournaments and it just keeps getting better. This year, however, was definitely the best.
"Everything about the event is top notch, from the way the course is presented to the way the players are treated off the course by everyone involved. Everyone at The European Tour would like to pay tribute to the work done, both by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and the new title sponsors this year, HSBC. We cannot wait to return in 12 months time," he added.
The next major golfing event in the UAE capital will be the Saadiyat Beach Classic, taking place at the Gary Player-designed Saadiyat Beach Golf Club on January 25, 2011. The Classic will welcome Abu Dhabi favourites Paul Casey and Ian Poulter, along with European Tour winner Matteo Manessero, winning Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie and Ryder Cup vice captain Thomas Bjorn in a pro/celeb-am format.