Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, England’s Matthew Baldwin, Chile’s Felipe Aguilar and Frenchman Alexander Levy shared the first prize of US$25,000 with five under par rounds of 67 in the Abu Dhabi Invitational at Yas Links on Sunday.
Speaking on behalf of the quartet, Aguilar said: “We’d like to thank the Abu Dhabi Sports Council for making this event possible, as well as the founders Mohammed Al Farooq and Abdullah Al Naboodah. Yas Island has become a great place to play golf, and Yas Links is really amazing. It’s a lot of fun to come here every year and support the event. Hopefully next time one of us can win one of those Bentleys for a hole-in-one!”
Several celebrities played in the tournament, which this year is raising money for the Emirates Red Crescent. They included famous sportsmen such as Brian Lara, Andriy Shevchenko and Roberto di Matteo, plus a variety of leaders from the business world.
His Excellency Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), was delighted with the latest edition of the event, saying: “The Abu Dhabi Invitational has yet been another success this year, with a quality international field of professionals, celebrities and amateurs uniting to raise funds for Emirates Red Crescent whilst enjoying a world-class golf course. We would like to thank everyone who has supported this year’s tournament and are already looking forward to 2017.”
Whilst the quartet of pros shared the first prize, it was American amateur Bryson DeChambeau who shot the lowest round of the day on Kyle Phillips’ design.
DeChambeau, who made headlines two weeks ago with an opening 64 in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, was not eligible to win the individual competition for professionals, but his round of 65 was another reminder of his burgeoning talent.
Despite missing out on the main prize due to his amateur status, DeChambeau’s stellar scoring enabled the 22 year old to win the Pro-Am team prize, as he paired up with Emirati professional Ahmed Al Musharrekh to card an 11 under par 61 under the ‘better ball’ format.
“We had a great time,” said DeChambeau. “Ahmed was incredible and we both fed off each other all day. For me it was another one of those days when I just had everything going.
“I loved it out there. Kyle Philips is a great designer and Yas Links was enjoyable to play. I’d love to play in more European Tour events, and it would be incredible to play more in the United Arab Emirates. They’ve been fantastic hosts, and I’d love to play in this tournament again.”