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5 Golfers to Watch at Abu Dhabi – NEWPAPER24

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5 Golfers to Watch at Abu Dhabi

2021-01-20 10:00:16

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The European Tour will begin its new season this week with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on the Abu Dhabi Golf Membership within the United Arab Emirates. The tour could have 42 occasions in 24 nations, capped in November by the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

The HSBC championship, which has been held on the identical course yearly since 2006, is considered one of 4 tournaments within the Rolex Sequence.

Listed here are 5 gamers to observe:

McIlroy, 31, of Northern Eire, is due. His final victory got here on the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai within the fall of 2019. It was the identical yr he captured the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup for the second time.

The Abu Dhabi course actually appeals to McIlroy, who completed second in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015. He hasn’t performed within the occasion since 2018, when he tied for third.

Final yr wasn’t considered one of McIlroy’s finest. He recorded numerous superb rounds, however the issue was with the ability to put 4 of them collectively in the identical week.

An excellent instance was the Masters in November. Over the past three days, McIlroy shot 66, 67 and 69, one stroke decrease in that span than the champion, Dustin Johnson. McIlroy, nonetheless, had began the event with a three-over 75. It was merely an excessive amount of floor to make up.

McIlroy, who was ranked No. 1 on this planet earlier than the pandemic, hasn’t received a significant since 2014. Presently No. 6 within the rankings, he can obtain the Grand Slam with a victory in April on the Masters.

Thomas, 27, ranked No. 3 on this planet, can be taking part in for the primary time in Abu Dhabi. He is without doubt one of the favorites each time he tees it up. He received three tournaments final season on the PGA Tour and now has 13 victories in his profession.

About two weeks in the past, on the Sentry Event of Champions in Hawaii, Thomas completed third, taking pictures a final-round 66. His costliest mistake got here when he bogeyed No. 17, as he completed one shot out of the playoff between Harris English and Joaquin Niemann.

Thomas’s robust play on the event was overshadowed by his use of an anti-gay slur after lacking a putt. He later apologized.

In his three earlier European Tour begins, his finest end was a tie for eighth on the 2018 HNA Open de France.

Westwood, the defending champion and European Tour Golfer of the 12 months in 2020, continues to be fairly succesful on the age of 47.

In final yr’s occasion at Abu Dhabi, he held off Matthew Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood and Victor Perez to win his twenty fifth European Tour victory. The wins have are available in 4 separate a long time.

Westwood, the previous No. 1 participant on this planet, may also have a possibility this week to enhance his possibilities of qualifying for the 2021 Ryder Cup, which can be held in Wisconsin.

He has been a member of the European workforce 10 occasions, beginning in 1997, and solely Nick Faldo has appeared in additional matches.

A blemish in Westwood’s profession is the shortage of a significant championship. He has come shut with 9 top-three finishes. Within the 2019 British Open he completed in a tie for fourth.

Westwood has been a wonderful ball striker for a few years. His quick sport, nonetheless, has not been on the identical degree.

Fleetwood, who turned 30 on Tuesday, has had quite a lot of success on the Abu Dhabi course. He received the occasion in 2017 and 2018 and tied for second in 2020.

Fleetwood, No. 19 on this planet rankings, can be nonetheless chasing his first main title. He has been in competition on a number of events. Within the 2018 United States Open, he fired a final-round 63 to complete one shot again of the winner, Brooks Koepka.

In 2020, Fleetwood completed 4 occasions within the high three. Nonetheless, he is aware of the yr may have been a lot better.

“There are areas of my sport the place I felt I struggled,” he stated. “My lengthy sport wasn’t as much as the usual I really feel it needs to be.”

Even so, making the Ryder Cup workforce is effectively inside his sights.

The occasion, Fleetwood stated, “is one thing you by no means wish to miss once more.” Fleetwood was 4-1 for the European workforce in 2018.

One other purpose is making it to Tokyo.

“The Olympics is an event that I wish to expertise and signify my nation,” he stated.

Fitzpatrick ended the 2020 season with a putting victory on the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. Tied for the lead heading into the ultimate spherical, he birdied 5 of the primary seven holes, prevailing by a shot over Westwood. It was his sixth European Tour triumph and first for the reason that 2018 Omega European Masters.

The win in Dubai couldn’t have come at a greater time. In his prior 10 tournaments, he’d missed 4 cuts.

“It was undoubtedly nice to get one other win below my belt after so many second-place finishes during the last two seasons,” Fitzpatrick stated.

“I feel any win or good end result provides you some confidence, so hopefully I can carry the momentum into 2021. I’d say on the weeks main as much as the occasion I did some nice swing work with my coach, Mike Walker, and that undoubtedly confirmed.”

Over time, Fitzpatrick, No. 17 on this planet, has revised his view of the Abu Dhabi course.

“Once I first got here out on the European Tour, I form of thought that it didn’t swimsuit my sport,” he stated. “My notion of it was that it was a bomber’s paradise, however since then it’s form of proved my concept incorrect.”

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