Kaymer Takes Day 1 Lead in Desert
2014 US Open champion Martin Kaymer raced to an early lead at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Thursday, firing an 8-under 64 to lead the field by one stroke.
It was no surprise to see Kaymer’s name atop the leaderboard, he won this tournament in 2008, 2010, and 2011, and finished second in 2009.
Kaymer recorded 10 birdies and two bogeys on the day, but has four of the birdies in a six-hole stretch to close the round one stroke ahead of Thomas Pieters.
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, playing for the first time since the Race to Dubai season finale in December, is tied for eighth with six other players, including American Rickie Fowler, at 5-under.
Starting on the back nine, McIlroy was still at even par through 10 holes, then caught fire late and finished with five birdies in his last seven holes.
Outside of the Top 10, the remarkable Miguel Angel Jimenez, 51 years old, fired a hole-in-one on the par-3, 177-yard No. 15. It was the eighth ace of his Euro Tour career, moving him into second place all-time in that category.
The ace was pivotal for Jimenez to finish at even par. His wild front nine started with a double bogey, followed by three straight birdies, a par, the ace, then two bogeys.
The UK’s Tom Lewis also recorded an ace, his on the 300-yard, par-3 No. 7. It not only won him a new Cadillac Escalade, but also was shot in front of his father. Lewis finished tied for 25th at 3-under.