Stal Takes Abu Dhabi as Kaymer Crumbles
Martin Kaymer blew a 10-stroke lead Sunday, and 22-year-old Gary Stal of France took advantage of it to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship by a single stroke.
It was Stal’s first career title, and he won it by one stroke over world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, a player Stal called his idol.
Kaymer ranked 12th in the world and the winner of last year’s US Open, had a 6-stroke lead to start the round and opened i with birdies on 1,2, and 3 to up his lead to 10 strokes.
But things went south from there. He bogeyed No. 6, then double bogeyed No. 9 to hit the turn back at par for the round. He never made another birdie, and a catastrophic triple bogey on No. 13 cost him the lead.
He finished with a 75 for the day and 17-under for the tournament.
Stal started the day in fifth, but began climbing rapidly as he stroked four birdies in a row between 8 and 11. Another birdie on 16 put him two strokes of McIlroy, who closed the final margin to one when he birdied No. 18.
Stal ended up with a 7-under 65 and was 19-under for the tournament. McIlroy finished with a 66 and was 18-under, frustrated that his sub-par 71 on Saturday cost him another title.
Kaymer shot 23-under for the first 59 holes of the tournament, and 6-over for the final 13.