PGA European - The Abu Dhabi Golf Championship Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, January 15th through Sunday, January 18th
SITE: Abu Dhabi Golf Club (National Course), Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
COURSE ARCHITECT: Peter Harradine (1998)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,500
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 405 Yds10 - Par 5 554 Yds
2 - Par 5 600 Yds11 - Par 4 417 Yds
3 - Par 4 429 Yds12 - Par 3 186 Yds
4 - Par 3 174 Yds13 - Par 4 414 Yds
5 - Par 4 469 Yds14 - Par 4 478 Yds
6 - Par 4 454 Yds15 - Par 3 177 Yds
7 - Par 3 200 Yds16 - Par 4 475 Yds
8 - Par 5 572 Yds17 - Par 4 483 Yds
9 - Par 4 456 Yds18 - Par 5 557 Yds
36 3,759 Yds36 3,741 Yds
Annual:  4th
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Sunday -- 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (et) -
Defending Champion:  Martin Kaymer
Runner-Up:  Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood
Tournament Record:  268 (Chris DiMarco, 2006)
54-Hole Record:  199 (Martin Kaymer, 2008)
36-Hole Record:  131 (Martin Kaymer, 2008)
Course Record:  62 (Henrik Stenson, 2006)
Total Purse:  $2,000,000
Shares:  1st Place - $323,691; 2nd Place - $215,793; 3rd Place - $121,591
2008 Finish
Martin Kaymer273Richard Finch278
Henrik Stenson277James Kingston279
Lee Westwood277Scott Strange279
Ignacio Garrido278Paul McGinley280
Peter Hedblom278Ian Poulter280
Past Abu Dhabi Golf Championship Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2008Martin Kaymer (273) -- Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood
2007Paul Casey (271) -- Peter Hanson, Miguel Angel Jimenez
2006Chris DiMarco (268) -- Henrik Stenson

Top Contenders in the Field
Martin Kaymer---mcWon
Henrik Stenson2nd8thT-2
Peter HedblomT-50T-41T-4
Ignacio GarridoT-20mcT-4
Richard FinchmcmcT-4
Padraig Harrington---T-5T-11
Rory McIlroy------T-11
Richard GreenT-20T-29T-17
Colin MontgomerieT-6T-14T-23
Andrew McLardyT-12T-20T-23
Soren HansenT-50T-50T-34
John BickertonT-24T-69T-39
Miguel A. Jimenez5thT-2T-43
Peter HansonT-61T-2T-43
Nick DoughertyT-45T-11T-50
Phillip PriceT-20T-9T-65
Thomas BjornT-24T-47T-67
Paul CaseyT-45Wonmc
Robert-Jan DerksenmcT-9mc
Niclas FasthmcT-29mc
Oliver WilsonT-35T-41mc
Ariel Canete---T-69mc
Ross Fisher---mcmc
Magnus A. Carlsson------mc
Jeev Milkha Singh------mc
Sergio Garcia3rdT-14---
Anders HansenT-30------
Robert Allenby---------
Aaron Baddeley---------
Trevor Immelman---------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Sergio Garcia
Darkhorse - Oliver Wilson
Last Week's Pick to Win (Richard Sterne) - Finished tied for 12th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Chris Wood) - Finished tied for 65th
The European Tour travels to the United Arab Emirates this week for the fourth year of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, which boasts an outstanding field. Eight of the top-30 players in the world are scheduled to compete, led by world No. 2 Sergio Garcia and world No. 3, British Open and PGA Championship winner Padraig Harrington. Other top-ranked players teeing it up are Henrik Stenson (12), Masters champion Trevor Immelman (20), Miguel Angel Jimenez (23), defending champion Martin Kaymer (25), Robert Allenby (26) and Ross Fisher (29). Seven players from the 2008 European Ryder Cup team are playing this week. Garcia has finished in the top four in his last four tournaments, including wins at the Castello Masters Costa Azahar and the HSBC Champions. The 120-player field contains 89 players who have won on the European Tour International Schedule, with a total of 266 European Tour titles between them.

Last year, despite a two-over 74 in the final round, Martin Kaymer walked away with his first European Tour title as he captured the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. Kaymer entered the final round with a six-shot lead following rounds of 66-65-68, but three straight bogeys on the front nine cut into that lead. Later, his lead was down to two after he bogeyed the 12th. However, his closest foes dropped shots late and Kaymer closed with a birdie to complete the four-shot win at 15-under-par 273. Lee Westwood and Stenson were both within two shots on the back nine, but finished four back at minus-11. Westwood bogeyed the last to drop to minus-11, while Stenson dropped a shot on 16 before parring the last two holes. Kaymer established new 36-hole (131) and 54-hole (199) scoring records. He also won the BMW International Open last year for his second career win.

Kaymer became the youngest German winner in European Tour history at 23 years and 24 days old. Bernhard Langer previously was the youngest German to win at 23 years and 38 days old when he won the 1980 Dunlop Masters.

In 2007, Paul Casey's only bogey in the final round came at the 18th hole, but it didn't keep him from winning. Casey closed with a seven-under 65 in the final round, his best score of the week, and beat Miguel Angel Jimenez and Peter Hanson by one shot for his eighth career European Tour win. Casey finished at 17-under-par 271. Casey has not claimed a victory since he won this event in 2007. He had won European Tour events in three consecutive seasons until 2008.

In 2006, American Chris DiMarco shot 63-67 over the final two rounds with his wife, Amy, as his caddy to win the tournament. DiMarco finished the event at 20-under-par 268 for his first win on the European Tour. It was the first European Tour event DiMarco played outside the four major championships and the World Golf Championship events. It was also his first win anywhere since the 2002 Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour.

Abu Dhabi Golf Club will measure 7,500 yards this year, making it the second- longest course in European Tour history outside of the major championships. Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club's East Course, site of the Joburg Open, is the longest at 7,590 yards.

The lone ace in tournament history came in 2006, when Darren Fichardt made a hole-in-one on No. 4 during round two.

This is the first of a three-week stay in the Gulf for the European Tour, followed by the Commercialbank Qatar Masters and the Dubai Desert Classic. Adam Scott won the title last year in Qatar.

01/13 14:23:48 ET

As of January 13, 2009, at 02:23 PM ET

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