Casey Looks for a Triple, Westwood Wants to Continue His Dubai Form

ABU DHABI - European No.1 Lee Westwood will tee off with defending champion Paul Casey and Geoff Ogilvy in the $2.2 million Abu Dhabi Golf Championship at the National Course of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship on Thursday.

By James Jose

Published: Fri 22 Jan 2010, 12:48 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 5:10 AM

The European tour-sanctioned event and into its fifth year, is being organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.

Englishman Paul Casey would be looking to fend off the challenge from compatriot and the inaugural Race to Dubai winner Lee Westwood for a second consecutive Abu Dhabi Golf Championship title and a third crown overall. Casey had won the title in 2007 and last year.

But standing in his way is Westwood. The 36-year-old won two events last season—the Portugal Masters and the season-ending Dubai World Championship to clinch the inaugural Race to Dubai crown. Going into the season-ending Dubai World Championship, Westwood was second in the Race to Dubai rankings behind Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy. He took a slender lead into the final day and came up with a golfing masterclass to win the tournament by six shots from Ross McGowan and also lap up the inaugural Race to Dubai title. Westwood will be lining up a second time in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, after finishing second in 2008.

Dubai Desert Classic winner and second in the Race to Dubai Rory McIlroy is paired with Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Swede Henrik Stenson.

Martin Kaymer, winner here in 2008 and who finished third in the inaugural Race to Dubai standings, tees off with Swede Robert Karlsson and Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark.

Two of the Arab world’s brightest golfers will make their Abu Dhabi Golf Championship debuts. UAE national Ahmed Al Musharrekh and Saudi Arabia’s Othman Almulla have dominated the junior and amateur circuit.

Twenty-three-year-old Almulla has two European Tour events under his belt having played in Dubai and Qatar previously.

Ninteen-year-old Al Musharrekh will mark his European Tour event debut.

The 126 man field for the Championship, is one of the strongest in the series’ history. The Abu Dhabi Golf Championship will have an enhanced course as well a rule change.

All areas of maintained rough have been over-seeded with ryegrass to make it thicker and more difficult to get out of. The greens have also been firmed-up, with less grain than in past years, to make them faster.

A number of design changes — including an additional tee on the Par 4, 483-yard 17th and an extension to the back of the 8th green, to allow for tougher pin placements — will pose further challenges to the 126-player field, which includes a host of the world’s top fifteen players.

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