Martin Kaymer’s team of seasoned professional golfers were crowned winners of the 2018 Abu Dhabi Invitational after an enthralling day of golf at the award-winning Yas Links Golf Club.
Played out in a Ryder Cup Fourball format in beautiful sunshine and minimal wind, Kaymer’s side beat Luis Figo’s Celebrity Team 8-6. The +7 handicap was not enough to stop an impressive 14-strong professional team, who secured victory against their celebrity counterparts for the second year in a row under the new rules instated in 2017.
The field was packed with household names and internationally renowned talent as footballing legend Luis Figo captained the Celebrity Team alongside returning players Peter Schmeichel, Ruud Gullit and Dwight Yorke. Alessandro Del Piero and Trevor Stevens were the fifth and sixth footballers to feature, whilst the line-up was bolstered further by the inclusion of cricket legend Brian Lara, Welsh rugby union scrumhalf Mike Phillips, Olympic champions Sir Matthew Pinsent and Roland Schoeman and Finnish Formula 1 driver Heikki Kovalainen. From the world of entertainment came pop sensations Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy, who together make up Boyzlife, along with actor James Nesbitt.
The Celebrities were tasked with taking on some of the biggest names in European golf. Captained by Ryder Cup legend Martin Kaymer, the professional team included Ladies European Tour stars Holly Clyburn and Camilla Lennarth. Ahmed Al Musharrekh, the first Emirati golfer to turn professional, also featured alongside Pablo Larrazabal and Gary Stal, who have both previously won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championships.
Kaymer said: “It’s been a brilliant day, aided by perfect conditions ideal for playing great golf. The team worked together really well and we managed to secure a tough victory against some really strong opposition.”
Yas Links also played host to the Amateur Championships on Friday, which allowed the celebrities to get to grips with the course.
His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council: “Both on and off the course the new format Abu Dhabi Invitational has been a resounding success. We were honoured to have such an incredible group of celebrities and sporting stars competing against a great line-up of professional golfers. A special thank you to all our VIP guests, who have flown in from all around the world for this unforgettable Abu Dhabi experience, and to our amazing tournament host Yas Links.”
Howie Roberts, General Manager of Yas Links said: “It was an absolute pleasure to host the Abu Dhabi Invitational for another year and witness the great feedback we have had from some of the world’s greatest names in sports about the course and the incredible golfing experience at Yas Links.”
In addition to the top-class sport on offer, the event also raised a substantial sum for its chosen charity: Cancer Patient Care Society – Rahma.