Shubhankar, Bhullar gear up for Abu Dhabi Championship

Ross Houston
January 16, 2020

Brooks Koepka of the United States will headline a star-studded field in Abu Dhabi from Thursday.

Today's No. 1 player in the world talking about the then No. 1 player in the world is always an interesting dynamic.

However, at odds of 18/1, defending champion Lowry is a decent each-way bet to prevail at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, especially in the wake of his second place finish in Hong Kong at the weekend when he carded a final round of 64.

Last year's victor Shane Lowry started his season with a runner-up finish last week in Hong Kong and that experience will have sharpened his game up for the defense of his title. But he intends to enjoy himself while bidding to add more silverware to his burgeoning trophy cabinet.

Sharma, who has been on the European Tour since winning twice in a short time in Joburg and Kuala Lumpur, is playing for the third time in Abu Dhabi.

"I basically had my trainer with me and we were in the gym at 7.00am every morning and we went to the golf course, practised all day and went to the gym again. Even when I got the green light, I just didn't know whether it was going to feel right, whether you're going to be the same, how is it going to feel".

Brooks Koepka is hopeful his knee problems are finally behind him having admitted he was "hurt all year" in 2019 despite being world number one.

The practice round was set up by Koepka's coach, Claude Harmon, who is attached to the Dubai training centre used by Hill.

"I'm excited about the fact I can practise because there wasn't much of that past year with my knee, ' he said. There is an enthusiasm to get out there and play". He is scheduled to play in the Saudi International later this month before making his 2020 Tour debut in February at the Genesis Invitational.

"There were things that I needed to do to take care of it and I didn't do that".

"Look, I go out on Thursday, might be 72, it might be 62, but I know it's the best I can do and I've prepared as well as I can".

"I don't want that to happen to the people behind me or in front of me. It's cool to see".

His Ryder Cup team-mate Sergio Garcia is vying for first wins on both the Rolex Series and at this event, as he returns to Abu Dhabi for the first time since 2014.

"Obviously, it would be nice to win", he said. I don't want to say this, but it was kind of up in the air. Ahead of the event, the No. 1 player in the world spoke with the media and told a pretty great story from his childhood.

"Taking that into account, what I think they have done very well, is a good thing". Obviously, when I play, I'm going to have to play well.

"Changing the regulation for an immediate one-shot penalty to now be triggered by two bad times in a tournament instead of a round will force slower players to consistently ensure they play within timing regulations", said John Paramor, the European Tour chief referee.

Other reports by iNewsToday