Martin Kaymer is the 1st round leader of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, proving that he always plays well here.
Martin carded an opening round of -8 under par 64, to hold the first round lead by one shot at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. He won here in 2008, 2010 and 2011 and was also the runner-up in 2009. Martin said he had putted very well, and was very pleased with his great start to the tournament;
“I putted well. I made ten birdies. I’m not sure if I have ever done it on a golf course, hit ten birdies. I hit a lot of fairways, my irons were quite sharp and I putted well.”
“It’s very difficult to shoot a bad score when you play like this.”
“Now the goal is not to compare myself tomorrow to the round what happened today. Tomorrow will be a new start but it’s a brilliant start to a great tournament.”
Thomas Pieters is in second place, just one shot adrift of the leader, a -7 under par 65 opening round giving him that place on his own. Thomas said he liked everything about the golf course;
“It was nice to start out the season with a seven under, so, I’m happy.”
“I like the greens here. They changed a couple of the greens around, like four, it’s going to be a really good pin and they put it front right and I think two is really good, too.”
Five players are tied in third place, all at -6 under par following their first round scores of 66; Branden Grace, Grégory Bourdy, Tyrrell Hatton, Alexander Levy and Mikko Ilonen.
Rory McIlroy, who is making his first appearance of the year, and Ryder Cup rival Rickie Fowler are among half a dozen players on -5 under par, making it a very compacted top of the leaderboard.
Rory executed a brilliant shot from the edge of the rough and bunker on the third hole to secure an unlikely birdie, one of five gains he made in six holes to complete his 67, and said it was not the sort of shot you practice;
“It’s definitely a boost. It’s not a shot I would practise too much, that’s for sure.”
“But from looking like you’re going to make a bogey to making a birdie that gives you a little bit of momentum and you can go on from there and luckily I was able to make a few birdies after that.”
Shots of the day came from Tom Lewis and Miguel Angel Jiménez they both recorded holes in one. Tom’s shot on the par three seventh winning him a Cadillac Escalade, while his father watched on.
Miguel’s came on 177-yard par three 15th, which pleased him;
“It’s very nice when you make a hole-in-one. I’m happy I finished level par today.”