Star-studded international line-up for Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Lowry at the double in Abu Dhabi?

Shane Lowry /Ireland ©imago images / ZUMA Press 15.01.2020

Golf fans in the UAE are in for a treat as some of the world’s best players have arrived at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club to take part in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shane Lowry won the Open last year after winning in Abu Dhabi and defends his title. Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Bryson DeChambeau are others who have registered their participation.

The tournament is the first of eight Rolex Series events on the 2020 European Tour international calendar and it, for once, sees a European Tour event overshadow it’s US PGA counterpart.
Golf Betting at William Hill
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship was played the first time in January 2006. It is one of three European Tour events in the Gulf States.

Prize money for the high-profile tournament has grown from $2 million in 2010 to $2.7million this year – the venue is the 27-hole Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Water is very much a feature on the course but it’s used more as backdrop rather than hazards. The rough is normally kept very short but is allowed to thicken prior to the HSBC Championship. That said, there still aren’t too many terrors for top players from off the tee. The approach to the 18th is spectacular with the falcon-shaped clubhouse in the background but the final green is huge and catch out the unwary.

Abu Dhabi Championship Past Winners

Year Winner Country Score
Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship
2019 Shane Lowry Ireland 270 (-18)
2018 Tommy Fleetwood England 266 (-22)
2017 Tommy Fleetwood England 271 (-17)
2016 Rickie Fowler United States 272 (-16)
2015 Gary Stahl France 276 (−19)
2014 Pablo Larrazábal  Spain 274 (−14)
2013 Jamie Donaldson  Wales 274 (−14)
2012 Robert Rock  England 275 (−13)
2011 Martin Kaymer  Germany 264 (−24)
2011 Martin Kaymer  Germany 264 (−24)
Abu Dhabi Golf Championship
2010 Martin Kaymer  Germany 267 (−21)
2009 Paul Casey  England 267 (−21)
2008 Martin Kaymer  Germany 273 (−15)
2007 Paul Casey  England 271 (−17)
2006 Chris DiMarco  United States 268 (−20)

Can the stars of the PGA buck the trends in Abu Dhabi?

Generous prize money frequently attracts the top American players but the winner has only twice come from the USA.

Bryson DeChambeau won in Dubai last year and Dustin Johnson did likewise in Saudi Arabia. But, apart from Rickie Fowler in 2016, the US PGA’s best have found it tough to master the Europeans in recent years. However, Patrick Cantlay was fourth in the Tournament of Champions a fortnight ago and has shunned a tournament in his native California this week to fly to the Middle East so must fancy his chances – he’s a general 10/1.

DeChambeau is 22/1 with Ladbrokes and has some form on the course but he’s not in the same form as he was 12 months ago. It’s even harder to recommend current world number one Brooks Koepka (11/1 with Betfred) as he’s just returned from a serious knee injury and would need to be at his best to win this.

It’s no surprise to see Tommy Fleetwood at the head of most markets. A best 10/1, he won this in 2017 and 2018 – only Martin Kaymer has won three times in Abu Dhabi. Runner-up in last year’s US Open, the Southport-based Englishman signed off 2019 with an overdue victory in the Nedbank Challenge and followed that up with a second place behind Jon Rahm in the DP World Tour Championship.

Open winner looks in good nick to defend his title

Many will fancy SHANE LOWRY to record back-to-back victories in Abu Dhabi this year.
The Irishman is 20/1 with Betfred and that offers good value considering he enjoyed the perfect preparation in Hong Kong last week. he beat Fleetwood at Royal Portrush last year, of course, and has generally rediscovered what it takes to win.

Spain’s PABLO LARRAZABAL has a very good record in Abu Dhabi. He held off Roro McIlroy and Phil Mickelson to win in 2014 and tied for second in 2017 behind Fleetwood. He won the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa last month so we’re struggling to understand why he is as big as 70/1 with Bet365 this week.

It could also pay off to give Belgium’s THOMAS PIETERS  a second look at the general 28/1. Pieters was second in 2016 and found form with a vengeance in the second half of last year. He only finished out of the top 30 in two of 11 tournaments after winning the Czech Masters for the second time in 2019. He has it in him to win one of these Rolex Series events.

Oosthuizen in fine shape ahead of Abu Dhabi date

LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN is another name that will probably on the leaderboard come the final 18 holes. He tied for second in Abu Dhabi way back in 2009 and, of course, won the Open at St Andrews the following year. He played well in a losing cause in the President’s Cup last month and, on the PGA Tour alone, has won more than $20 million in prize money. South Africa’s top-ranked golfer arrives off the back of a terrific duel with Branden Grace (a general 28/1) in the South African Open so is in good heart and a general 16/1 to win this week.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Current Best Odds*

Tommy Fleetwood and Patrick Cantlay 10/1
Brooks Koepka 11/1
Louis Oosthuizen 16/1
Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick 20/1
Bryson DeChambeau 22/1
Thomas Pieters and Branden Grace 28/1
Viktor Hovland 35/1
Robert MacIntyre, Bernd Wiesberger, Danny Willett and Sergio Garcia 40/1
Martin Kaymer and Matthias Schwab 45/1
Joost Luiten, Thomas Detry and Tom Lewis 50/1
Erik Van Rooyen, Matt Wallace and Rafael Cabrera Bello 55/1
Victor Perez 66/1
Pablo Larrazabal 70/1
Charl Schwartzel, Ian Poulter, Paul Waring, Marcus Kinhult and Haotong Li 80/1
Lee Westwood and George Coetzee 90/1
Andy Sullivan, Benjamin Hebert, Kurt Kitayama and Adri Arnaus 100/1
*(Odds correct at 12.40pm 14 January)

Louis Oosthuizen Top 10 Finish
15/8

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