Thursday, January 15, 2015



Three-time Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship winner Martin Kaymer got his year off to the perfect start with an opening, eight-under-par 64 to lead by one from Belgium’s Thomas Pieters. 
The German, pictured in action today (courtesy of Getty Images)(c), who turned 30 last month, carded his tenth birdie of the day down the par five last en route to the best round of his career at this tournament. 
Two dropped shots around the turn cost the US Open Champion a chance of equalling Henrik Stenson’s nine-year-old course record at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, but he was pleased to get off to another good start in the UAE. 
Pieters also got his second campaign on The European Tour off to the ideal start with a seven under par score on day one, but there are plenty of established names in close attendance, with the likes of Frenchman Grégory Bourdy, Alfred Dunhill Championship winner Branden Grace, England’s Tyrrell Hatton, Mikko Ilonen of Finland and two-time winner from last season, Alex Levy, all six under. World Number One Rory McIlroy, three times a runner-up in Abu Dhabi, also moved into contention today as he finished a shot further adrift in a tie for eighth at five under par alongside playing partner Rickie Fowler. 
 Challenge Tour graduate Byeong-hun An, Swedish veteran Robert Karlsson, America’s Peter Uihlein and Alex Noren – who is playing for the first time since last May’s BMW PGA Championship after wrist surgery – are all alongside McIlroy and Fowler in rounding out the top ten. 
 Martin Kaymer (-8) 
 “You always come fresh to Abu Dhabi after a long break, and I usually practsce really well before. 
“I think the key the last few years has been my putting and I putted really well today. I made ten birdies, and there were, I think, only three putts in those ten birdies that were over 15 to 18 feet, and that's very rare. So I putted very well and that has probably been the key the last few years and today, too. 
“I made ten birdies and I'm not sure if I have ever done that before. I hit a lot of fairways, my irons were quite sharp and I putted well, so it's very difficult to shoot a bad score when you play like that. “Now the goal is not to compare myself tomorrow to this round and what happened today. Tomorrow will be a new start, but it's a brilliant start to a great tournament.” 
Thomas Pieters (-7) 
“It was nice to start out the season with a seven under, so I'm happy. I've been driving it a lot better, which I think is the key out here. You have to keep it around the fairway and I drove it long today, so I gave myself a lot of wedges in and converted some putts, which was nice. “I was going along quietly, just making a couple birdies, then around the turn I made four in a row and that was nice. To make birdie on 18 was good too. “We played (the course) on Monday and it was really tough, really windy, so it kind of scared me as to how tough it played, but then this morning was perfect. There was no wind, so perfect conditions, and it was good to take advantage of that.”
 Rory McIlroy (-5)
 “I was just trying to keep up with this guy (Rickie Fowler). He was making some birdies, but I got on a nice little run around the middle of the round, and from looking like I might make bogey on the third hole with that dodgy lie just over the bunker, to having a chance to shoot six under on the last, was a nice finish. 
“I'll need to do a lot more of that over the next few days if I want to have a chance to win, and I know I'll need to hit more fairways as well. I didn't drive the ball particularly well today so that’s something I need to do a little bit better if I want to have a chance. 
“The result was good, and 67 was pleasing but how I got there in the end wasn't quite as pleasing. Around this golf course, with the rough the way it is, I know I'm going to have to do a better job of finding the fairways over the weekend. 
“To get off to a good start at 67, with only one bogey, is not a bad way to start the year.”  

Rickie Fowler (-5) 
“I got off to a nice start, as I was a little shaky this morning, after having not played in quite some time. I’ve only played two events since The Ryder Cup, so it was nice to get things off to a consistent start and throw some birdies in there. 
"Unfortunately I made bogey at the last, but made some good swings coming down the stretch and I’m definitely pleased with the start.
 “I am enjoying myself, as I haven't actually been able to play too many times on The European Tour but I have played well, being that the last one we played during the summer before The Open was the Scottish Open at Aberdeen. 
"Obviously I have also been over in China playing the HSBC there, as well. Excited for this to be the first trip to the Middle East and get off to a good, solid round today and excited for the week. 
“I can't get rid of him (Rory McIlroy), that's the hard part. I keep getting paired with him, but I’ve had some groups with him on the weekend, which is obviously a good thing. He’s the best player in the world, so if I'm hanging around him a little bit, I'm doing the right things. 
“We both got off to good, solid start today, and it was nice to see him throw in a few birdies and kind of get things going on the back nine. So I’m excited for tomorrow and hopefully we can keep it going and have some fun this weekend. 
 “He's got the edge, obviously, being the number one player in the world, and winning two Majors last year. I guess I’ve not got off to the hottest of starts to my career, with only two worldwide wins, one on the US PGA Tour. I'd like to start adding to that and make myself a little bit more of a prominent player.” 

  Par 72
64 M Kaymer (Ger) 
65 T Pieters (Bel)
66 A Levy (Fra) , T Hatton (Eng) , G Bourdy (Fra) , M Ilonen (Fin) , B Grace (RSA)
67 R McIlroy (NIr) , A Noren (Swe) , R Karlsson (Swe) , R Fowler (USA) , B An (SKor) , P Uihlein (USA)
68 N Colsaerts (Bel), P Waring (Eng), R Green (Aus) , G Stal (Fra) , P Lawrie (Sco) , M Nixon (Eng) , G Coetzee (RSA) , M Madsen (Den) , J Morrison (Eng) , A Hansen (Den) , J Singh (Ind) 
69 M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) , R Bland (Eng) , S Hansen (Den) , M Hoey (Nir), A Cañizares (Esp) , A Quiros (Esp) , R Jacquelin (Fra) , R Rock (Eng) , V Dubuisson (Fra) , T Lewis (Eng) , M Warren (Sco) , O Fisher (Eng) , K Broberg (Swe) , N Fasth (Swe) , S Benson (Eng) , D Fichardt (RSA)
70 E Pepperell (Eng) , J Carlsson (Swe) , D Willett (Eng) , M Kieffer (Ger) , E Els (RSA) , T Aiken (RSA) , E Grillo (Arg) , A Wall (Eng) , J Garcia Pinto (Esp), L Slattery (Eng) , Y Yang (SKor) , D Van Der Walt (RSA) , S Hend (Aus) , R Paratore (Ita) , S Jamieson (Sco) , R Cabrera-Bello (Esp) , D Drysdale (Sco) , G Tian-Lang (Chn)
71 R Sterne (RSA) , D Horsey (Eng) , J Palmer (Eng) , M Fitzpatrick (Eng) , R Fisher (Eng), G Havret (Fra) , O Wilson (Eng) , C Schwartzel (RSA) , A Sullivan (Eng) , D McGrane (Irl) , P Larrazábal (Esp) , D Foos (Ger)
72 D Lipsky (USA) , M Manassero (Ita) , B Wiesberger (Aut) , T Olesen (Den) , J Campillo (Esp) , M Jiménez (Esp) , M Lampert (Ger) , D Clarke (Nir) , P Maddy (Eng), A Lahiri (Ind) , M Crespi (Ita) , D Howell (Eng) , E Molinari (Ita) , K Aphibarnrat (Tha) , B Dredge (Wal) , M Fraser (Aus)
73 G Mulroy (RSA) , M Tullo (Chi) , O Farr (Wal) , S Webster (Eng) , S Hutsby (Eng), C Lee (Sco) , A Johnston (Eng) , R Wattel (Fra) , S Khan (Eng) , B Rumford (Aus) , J Donaldson (Wal) , E Espana (Fra) , J Rose (Eng) , M Baldwin (Eng) , S Dyson (Eng)
74 L Bjerregaard (Den) , R Ramsay (Sco) , J Kruger (RSA) , J Quesne (Fra) , G Storm (Eng) , S Kjeldsen (Den) , M Foster (Eng) , T Fleetwood (Eng)
75 W Ormsby (Aus) , R Finch (Eng) , M Carlsson (Swe) 
76 C Doak (Sco) , S Kapur (Ind) , A Tadini (Ita) , F Aguilar (Chi) , H Stenson (Swe) , B Hebert (Fra) , F Zanotti (Par), D Brooks (Eng) , O Schniederjans (USA) (am)
77 C Shinkwin (Eng) , 78 A Al Musharrekh (UAE) , C Dimarco (USA) , 
80 J Jeong (SKor)




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