Golf-meets-darts contest at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club

Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Jason Dufner and Matteo Manassero took part in a golf darts contest at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club ahead of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship


Before the start of this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Jason Dufner and Matteo Manassero took part in a golf-come-darts contest at the eco-conscious Saadiyat Beach Golf Club on the beautiful Saadiyat Island.

Each golfer partnered with an HSBC global sporting ambassador, with the two-man teams tasked with hitting 109-yard approaches onto the sixth green of the Gary Player-designed ocean-front course.

As per darts, the teams accrued points based on landing zones marked out by natural grass circling out from the pin. A hole-in-one scored 360 points, the five-feet ring 180 points and so on.

The four teams were each given six balls - three per competitor - with the team amassing the most points moving onto the final.

In the first semi-final, Rose and Tim Henman beat Dufner and former Welsh rugby star Jonathan Davies by a meagre 20 points, courtesy of Henman's last-ditch 60 pointer.

"That was a special bit of fun before the tournament," said Dufner. "Fair play to Tim, he stepped up when it counted."

The other match wasn't as close, with Manassero and lions scrum-half Gareth Edwards thrashing Els and former Scotland rugby captain Gavin Hastings 580-120.

In the final, Rose and Henman set a huge target on 620, with the Italian's team falling 200 points short.

"I brought my 'A' game and I've definitely honed my competitive edge ahead of the Championship," joked Rose.

"Hopefully this is the first victory of many this season."

The exhibition match was also a great success for The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort - the new hotel partner of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship - which sits among the grassy fairways and inimitable sand dunes of Player's sea-front masterpiece.

"Championship week has got off to a flying start for the team at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort," said John Pelling, the hotel's General Manager.

"The hotel's world-class facilities and St. Regis bespoke service has received universal praise from all the players staying with us."

Nick Bonfield
Features Editor

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, writing, commissioning and coordinating all features across print and online. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x