Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship: day 1

Three-time winner Martin Kaymer show his mastery of this course

Martin Kaymer of Germany plays his approach to the 9th during the first round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship . Credit: Getty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Martin Kaymer, a three-time winner of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, leads after a first round 64, on a day which saw two holes-in-one

Martin Kaymer, a three-time winner of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship leads after the first round at Abu Dhabi GC. The 30-year-old German shot ten birdies in his opening round of 64, and showed his continuing mastery around this course on which his average score in tournament play is 67.79.

Belgian Thomas Pieters carded seven birdies in his 13 holes en route to a 65, which left him second on the opening day leaderboard. The 22-year-old has yet to win on tour.

Third place on the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship opening day leaderboard was shared by the four golfers who shot 66 - Branden Grace, who birdied the final six holes, Alexander Levy, Tyrell Hatton and Gregory Bourdy.

Rory McIlroy and his playing partner Rickie Fowler both shot 67, a product of their hot putters. Both players took only 27 putts. Also shooting 67 was Alex Noren, who was playing his first tour event since last May’s BMW PGA Championship, having been kept out of the game by tendonitis in both wrists which required surgery.

One player who is already guaranteed a prize from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is Tom Lewis. He holed in one on the 193-yard 7th with a 7-iron and won himself a new Cadillac Escalade worth almost $90,000.

Miguel Angel Jimenez also aced a hole (opens in new tab), the 174-yard 15th. But sly for him, there was no hole-in-one prize on this hole. Eleven aces have been scored in the tournament’s 10-year history, but this was the first at the 15th.

It was also Jimenez ’s eighth hole in one on the European Tour - only Colin Montgomerie , with nine, has more such aces. The flamboyant Spaniard celebrated with a wee dance (opens in new tab). His back nine went: double bogey, birdie, birdie, birdie, par, eagle, bogey, bogey, par and he ended the day level par.

It was a day of low scoring, with 24 players ending it within four shots of the lead. But world number two Henrik Stenson struggled to 76, which left him tied in 113th place.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship leaderboard (opens in new tab)

Contributing Writer Golf courses and travel are Roderick’s particular interests and he worked as contributing editor for the first few years of the Golf Monthly Travel Supplement. He writes travel articles and general features for the magazine, travel supplement and website. He is a member of Trevose Golf & Country Club and has played golf in around 20 countries. Cricket is his other main sporting love. He is the author of five books, four of which are still in print: The Novel Life of PG Wodehouse; The Don: Beyond Boundaries; Wally Hammond: Gentleman & Player and England’s Greatest Post-War All Rounder.