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Stars struggle a bit at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

First Round –European Tour – Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship – Abu Dhabi Golf Club – Dubai, United Arab Emirates –

Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello and France’s Romain Wattel managed identical 5-under-67s to assume the overnight lead at the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The field, which includes four of the Top 1o players in the Official World Golf Ranking, was topped by a pair of long shots after one round. Wattel, ranked 176th in the world, was a 66-to-1 pick at Ladbrokes.com heading into the tournament, while RCB was a 100-1 selection.

Headlines Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson failed to get their putters going at Abu Dhabi Golf Club in Dubai. Both needed 31 putts. Mickelson did not record a birdie in his 2014 debut.

McIlroy is T-19 at 2-under alongside former World No. 1 players Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer.

RCB made 22 of 29 cuts last season en route to finishing 41st in the Race To Dubai. Wattel was 84th. Look for a changing leader board and look for the crème to rise to the top.

Other Golf News:

  • Patrick Reed (9-under-63) leads the Humana Challenge on the PGA Tour after 18 holes in the California desert. He leads Ryan Palmer, Charley Hoffman and two others by a shot. The tournament uses a three-course rotation.
  • Kaymer is a three-time champion at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
  • More than 50 players broke par in the United Arab Emirates. Mickelson and Henrik Stenson, the FedEx Cup and Race To Dubai champion in 2013, both struggled in the opening round. Mickelson is T-63 after a 73, while Stenson shot 74.