The 10th anniversary of the 2015 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship—a European PGA Tour event, from January 15 to 18, 2015—brought some of the world’s best golfers in Abu Dhabi last week. The competition for the title was exciting as ever with the first Frenchman, Gary Stal, to win the tournament. Aged 22, he is the youngest winner of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Victory comes in his second appearance at this event; it’s his fourth win as a professional and his largest European Tour prize: €379,798.
By winning the 2015 European Tour of Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Gary Stal gains a place in the 2015 WGC – Bridgestone Invitational, Aug. 3-9. This got Gary Stal’s year off to the perfect start. Going into the tournament at Abu Dhabi, Stal’s status was No. 357 in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR); now he is positioned at 103.
Gary Stal, who turned pro in 2012, showed an impressive golf performance all four days of the Abu Dhabi HSBC tournament. His driving accuracy on fairways over the four rounds and accurate hits to set up birdie chances allowed him to putt well and sink the ball in few attempts. His round of golf was well under par at the end of the 18 holes each day. He played impressive golf in his fourth day for his final round 65 with a 19 under par total that marked the lowest score of all players that day. This laid the foundations for his come back from eight shots behind Martin Kaymer in the final round to be victorious.
World Number One Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy finished in 2nd, one shot back; while German golfer Martin Kaymer who was going into the final day as leader (up by six shots over McIlroy) found himself in trouble the final round on Sunday with a couple bad tee shots, double-bogey and a triple-bogey that cost him the overall win. Because of Kaymer’s golf game on the last day and despite the good finish by Rory McIlroy, who closed the gap, Gary Stal came from behind to seal his first European Tour victory. It was the biggest final round comeback by a winner on The European Tour to date.
From Rory McIlroy’s first professional hole-in-one on day two at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship to Stal’s consistent flawless rounds of game play and Martin Kaymer’s flawed bogeys on day four, no one knew how the tournament would end. Nonetheless, those that play golf will tell you that the game is not over until the last shot has been played to finish the match and the ball rolls into the cup on that final hole. This is exactly what happened when the winner, in the final round, snatched the tournament from under the nose of Kaymer. Just when they thought it was over, it was not; no matter how many strokes, Stal’s golfing comeback and his persistent golf performance, which was his finest yet on the four day, gave him a distinct advantage over the rest of the players.