Rory McIlroy, last year’s double major winner, finished in third place overnight with 11 under-par, after round two of the first golf tournament of the year, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.  He was in tied fourth after round one, but has now dangerously climbed up the leaderboard to be only two shots off the lead.

The Northern Irishman is now putting pressure on 30-year old German Martin Kaymer and 22-year old Belgian Thomas Pieters, who are in the lead. Kaymer, the three-time winner of the Abu Dhabi Championship in 2008, 2010 and 2011, leads the field with 13 under-par, with Pieters only one shot behind.

The tournament, that is always played in January, is renowned as one of the biggest golf events on the European Tour and is regularly attended by the golfing elite.

Apart from the four-time Major Champion Rory McIlroy, number one in the world, and the three-time Abu Dhabi Champion Martin Kaymer, who is currently ranked 12th in the world, this year’s list of big names also includes Henrik Stenson, ranked number two in the world, Justin Rose, world number five and American Rickie Fowler, ranked world number 10.

We will need to wait till Sunday, 18th January, to see who will lift the sought-after Falcon Trophy, made to match the symbol of the United Arab Emirates!

The Abu Dhabi event, established and played since 2006, is also very popular with golf supporters and is always a magnet for lots of people who are fascinated by the beautiful setting of the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, which runs through rolling terrain with palm trees and spectacular saltwater lakes. The club was designed to replicate an oasis in the desert and no money was spared to achieve just that. The club is definitely one of the most magnificent and luxurious golf resorts in the world and is certainly the place to be during the January glooms.

The Championship is helping to boost not only the sporting profile of Abu Dhabi but also its tourism and place the city on a list of preferred international travel destinations.  #Celebrities