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The final leaderboard for the 2016 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates is in. Rickie Fowler hung on after a double bogey on the seventh hole to win by one stroke over runner-up Thomas Pieters. Below is the truncated top-10 leaderboard:
(1) Rickie Fowler (-16)
(2) Thomas Pieters (-15)
(T3) Henrik Stenson (-14)
(T3) Rory McIlroy (-14)
(T5) Marcel Siem (-11)
(T5) Jordan Spieth (-11)
(T5) Alejandro Cañizares (-11)
(T5) Branden Grace (-11)
(T5) Byeong Hun An (-11)
(T5) Joost Luiten (-11)
Here are my thoughts and a few statistics on the champion and some notable golfers on the leaderboard:
Winner: Rickie Fowler (-16) – Fowler’s game has been pretty hot for quite some time now, with two top-10 finishes and a top-20 (third and fifth alone) in his last three PGA Tour starts. With his win this week he moves up to No. 4 in the Official World Golf Rankings. Last year at the Abu Dhabi he finished T66 — not very good, but he clearly was able to put it behind him. His last win on the PGA Tour came at the Deutsche Bank in September of last year, and his only other win on the European Tour came at the 2015 Scottish Open. He says he can go toe-to-toe with Spieth and McIlroy, and I believe he can; it will be interesting to see that dynamic play out over time.
Today: 1 eagle, 3 birdies and a double-bogey for a 3-under 69. At one point he was leading by 4 shots. His double on the 7th was immediately followed by an eagle on the 8th. Scores over four rounds: 70, 68, 65, 69 (272).
Thomas Pieters (-15) – This is Pieters’ best finish at the Abu Dhabi Championship, his next best being a T4 last year in 2015. The young 23-year-old currently has two European Tour wins under his belt — the 2015 KLM Open and the 2015 D+D Real Czech Masters, which were held two weeks apart. Prior to this week he had a slew of decent finishes (mostly top-25). He currently ranks fifth in the Race to Dubai.
Today: 5 birdies and no bogeys for a 5-under 67. Scores over four rounds: 69, 73, 64, 67 (273).
Henrik Stenson (-14) – This was an impressive performance considering it was Stenson’s first start since having surgery on his right knee. His last finish on the European Tour was a solo second at the Nedbank Challenge last month. He has 9 total European Tour wins, his last at the DP World Tour Championship in 2014. Knee and foot problems have caused him to pull out of next week’s Qatar Masters.
Today: 6 birdies and 1 bogey for a 5-under 67. Scores over four rounds: 65, 72, 70, 67 (274).
Rory McIlroy (-14) – Despite McIlroy’s 12 European Tour wins, he has not yet won the Abu Dhabi. He won his last Euro start at the DP World Tour Championship last November, but he hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since the 2015 Wells Fargo.
Today: 5 birdies, 3 bogeys and an eagle for a 4-under 68. His eagle came at the 18th, but unfortunately for him he fell just short. Scores over four rounds: 66, 70, 70, 68 (274).