German Edges Closer to Snatching World No. 2 Spot from Tiger Woods
15 - November 2011
Abu Dhabi, UAE. 21 January 2011: Defending champion, Martin Kaymer of Germany, shot a blistering, bogey-free 65 on day two of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship to snatch the lead from South African Charl Schwartzel, ending the European Tour-backed event’s half-way stage three shots clear on 12-under-par.
Having started the day on 5-under, Kaymer - a two-time Abu Dhabi winner - immediately set the course ablaze with five birdies in his first seven holes, leapfrogging Schwartzel, who could only manage to extend his score to 9-under.
And the 26-year-old German – one of four 2010 Major winners competing in this year’s Championship, which runs until Sunday – now moves one step closer to knocking Tiger Woods out of second spot in the World Rankings, with anything better than a seventh place finish in the UAE capital enough to do the job.
“I just feel comfortable coming here to the golf course,” said the US PGA Championship winner, who clinched his first European Tour event title in Abu Dhabi three years ago. “Flying into Abu Dhabi and knowing that you can sleep in the Emirates Palace makes me happy and it's always a warm welcome when I come to the clubhouse here. It's a golf course where I have been successful and where I know I can win, and that makes me play well.”
Not to be out-gunned by his Ryder Cup compatriot, Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, the U.S. Open champion, ended day two in third position, continuing the good form that brought him second place in Hawaii last week. His two-under-par 70 on Friday in Abu Dhabi included five birdies, leaving him only four shots off the pace.
Reigning Masters champion Phil Mickelson – who is making his Middle East debut in Abu Dhabi - had an up-and-down day with four birdies and two bogies leaving him on 2-under, while Louis Oosthuizen, the Open champion, enjoyed three birdies in his full round but could not force his way higher up the leader board, finishing the day on 1-over. Lee Westwood, the world number one, ended on level par after a second-round 75.
“It is another great showing by Martin [Kaymer] here in Abu Dhabi. If he can clinch the Falcon trophy for a record third time, then we will let him keep it. He will have more than earned it, especially with such a strong field on show this year,” said Faisal Al Sheikh, Events Manager for the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), the Championship’s organiser.
With a stellar field featuring the world number one, all four current Major winners and six of the world’s top 10 players, all competing for the US$2.7 million prize fund, the 2011 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is the richest event of the Desert Swing leg of the European Tour.
Off-course, the tournament features its biggest ever Championship Village, providing plenty of fun for all the family. Tickets are AED125 for a daily pass, with a preferential rate of AED100 available to EGF members. Children under 18 will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Car parking is free during the Championship.
Tickets are available via the event’s official website, www.abudhabihsbcgolfchampionship.com, as well as online at www.timeouttickets.com and www.itptickets.com and on the gate. Phone bookings can be made through the ITP toll-free hotline 800 4669, or for international visitors, +971 4 210 8943.
Also, look out for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship Facebook fan page - www.Facebook.com/AbuDhabiHSBCGolfChampionship2011 - which is full of information about the tournament and golfers in attendance. The Twitter feed – www.twitter.com/AbuDhabiGC - provides up-to-the-minute news and scores.
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is backed by a high-profile sponsorship line-up that also includes Saeed and Mohammed Al Naboodah Group, Emirates Palace hotel, Etisalat, TDIC, Rolex, Cadillac, Airbus, CNN, Xerox, Etihad and Gulf News