Kaymer eclipses McIlroy and Woods in marquee match

Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:09am EST
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By Tony Jimenez

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Triple former winner Martin Kaymer eclipsed playing partners Rory McIlroy and former world number one Tiger Woods in their marquee three-ball in the first round of the $2.7 million Abu Dhabi Championship on Thursday.

German Kaymer, who lifted the spectacular Falcon Trophy in 2008, 2010 and 2011, carded a one-under 71 in difficult winds gusting up to 20mph (30kph) while an out-of-sorts McIlroy ballooned to a 75 and Woods had to settle for a 72.

All three trailed early clubhouse leader Jamie Donaldson of Britain who plotted his way to a five-under 67.

McIlroy, Woods and Kaymer started on the 10th hole at 0740 local time and were introduced to an excited gallery by European Tour chief executive George O'Grady.

The trio all found sand on their par-five first hole, McIlroy somehow managing to putt his way into a greenside bunker, but each saved par.

The world number one's game began to unravel when he took a double-bogey five at the 15th. He hit back with a birdie at the long second before producing an errant tee shot at the third and slumping to his second double-bogey in seven holes.

Northern Irishman McIlroy looked on as Woods made a strong move by birdying the 15th, 17th and 18th but the world number two dropped back into the pack with successive bogeys at the first and second.

A birdie at the eighth cheered up the 14-times major winner before he made a mess of the ninth and final hole, three-putting from 30 feet.   Continued...

Martin Kaymer of Germany tees off on the 13th hole during the first round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah