Date: January 18, 2013
Author: Omnisport

Campbell, Green open well in Abu Dhabi

Welshman Jamie Donaldson outshone big names Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship as Michael Campbell and Richard Green led the way for Australasia. Irish Open champion Donaldson, though, shot an opening round 67 to take a one-shot lead alongside Englishman Justin Rose, while Woods stuttered to even par after a rollercoaster round and McIlroy was even worse at three over with his new Nike clubs. Donaldson, who moved into the top 50 last season, mastered the narrow fairways and windy conditions to shoot six birdies, including a holed bunker shot at the 12th. Rose carded five birdies on the front nine and one on the back to join Donaldson in the lead, while Dane Thorbjorn Olesen and Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal are tied for third at four under. World number one McIlroy was far from his best, regularly missing fairways with his new clubs following a multimillion dollar sponsorship deal with Nike. The Northern Irishman finished with a three-over 75, leaving him tied for 84th, and he could miss the cut if he does not improve on Friday. The 23-year-old hit a tree at the 12th and landed his ball in the car park in a round that contained two rare double-bogeys and missed putts. Woods had his moments with four birdies but combined that with four bogeys and three-putted the last hole to finish on a sour note. The American salvaged much of his round with his short game, making several long birdie putts and saving par on a number of other occasions. Campbell was the best of the Australasian contingent, the New Zealander finishing with a three-under 69 after the opening round. Campbell said a change in his holiday routine has helped him make a strong start to the new year. “One thing I did this time around, which is very different, quite unusual was I played a lot over the Christmas period,” Campbell told the New Zealand Herald. “(I) decided to keep on going with just swinging the golf club really. It helped me a lot to get into the groove again very quickly here. “It&aposs always nice to shoot under par first time out this year. I think it&aposs the first time I broke 70 here at this golf course so it&aposs always nice to do that.” Campbell did endure a nervous start, however, but a strong back nine ensured he finished the day in a tie for fifth. Australian Richard Green, meanwhile, shot a one-under 71 while compatriots Andrew Dodt (two over), Brett Rumford and Marcus Fraser (both three over) are in danger of missing the cut.