Watch: Wind Wreaks Havoc At Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
It wasn't just the players who were struggling with the winds in Abu Dhabi, with the green staff having to clear a large amount of sand off the greens
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After a scoring frenzy on the first day of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship (opens in new tab), conditions drastically changed on Friday, with winds of 25-30mph causing havoc for the players on the course.
The scoring, which was around four shots worse than Thursday, was only one of the issues at the brand new venue, Yas Island (opens in new tab), with the video below showing the problems the greenkeepers faced during the second round on Friday.
Welcome to a windy round of golf in the desert 🌪️#ADGolfChamps | #RolexSeries pic.twitter.com/5yJ2yzgoqoJanuary 21, 2022
On one of the courses many undulating greens, the green staff were forced to take action on the par-4 14th, with massive amounts of sand being blown onto the putting surface, causing the blowers to come out to get rid of it.
Players like Min Woo Lee and Robert MacIntyre were pictured suffering in the conditions, with the Scotsman saying: “I’ve never played a golf course that I’ve been hit by a bin bag on before."
He added: "we’ve just got to get on with this and try our best. This is the toughest conditions I’ve played in since probably Royal Portrush, where I got two holes in The Open like this. I think I’ve played three holes where it’s not been off my right side; for me, being a left-hander, that’s the hardest wind."
His words were echoed by current leader, Ian Poulter (opens in new tab), who admitted to "backing off a couple putts" during his level-par round of 72. "I've got to be honest, you look at the forecast and you felt the wind as strong as it was, you'd have thought the ball would be moving but I didn't have any balls moving on the green. So it was a surprise, but you just had to hang in there", he added.
Another player who is tied with Poulter at the top of the leaderboard is Viktor Hovland (opens in new tab), with the young Norwegian looking to claim his first Rolex Series (opens in new tab) event title. "It was a tough day today", he said. "Obviously I would have liked to have made a couple more putts today and I think I could have shot under par, but it was a really difficult when it blowing as much as it is.
"It's pretty cliché but you need patience. You might be able to pick up a birdie here and there but on a day like today it's limited how many chances you're going to get, it's all about kind of being risk averse and missing on the right side and picking your spots and just telling yourself that it's okay to be 50 feet away on this hole. You just kind of have to manage that as the day goes on."
Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.
Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?
Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°
Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°
Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°
Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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