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Rory Mcilroy to head an all star cast at the Abu Dhabi Invitational

GOLF’S World number one Rory McIlroy will be the star attraction in today’s (Sunday’s) eagerly anticipated Abu Dhabi Invitational taking place on the stunning Kyle Phillips-designed Yas Links.

The Northern Irishman got his 2014 season underway at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship two weeks ago and looked in fine form, finishing runner-up, one stroke behind the victorious Frenchman Gary Stal.
McIlroy got his first taste of one of the world’s most highly regarded and popular Pro-Ams in 2010 at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club and he’s delighted that the tournament is back on the UAE calendar after a two year break and raring to go.
The 25 year old will be joined at Yas Links by his father, Gerry, and close friend Harry Diamond.
Branden Grace, who won his second title of the 2015 season yesterday in Qatar said, “I’m really looking forward to the Abu Dhabi invitational. It will be a great way to celebrate today’s victory and I hope I can keep the momentum going at Yas Links to raise as much money as possible for charity.”
H.E. Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, was delighted at his participation in the event in welcoming the tournament back to the capital of the UAE, saying: “To have the world number one Rory McIlroy  playing in such a high-class event is testament to the respect the players have for the Abu Dhabi Invitational.
“We are delighted to be hosting the Abu Dhabi Invitational at Yas Links and over the years it has earned its reputation as one of the most prestigious ‘must-play’ Pro-Ams in the game of golf. We are excited to see the tournament return to Abu Dhabi and look forward to welcoming elite businessmen and professional golfers from around the world to enjoy the event.”
Also in the field is defending champion Richie Ramsay who won the event the last time it was held, in 2012, at Yas Links, when the Scotsman shot a course record 10 under par 62 to win by three shots from Thorbjorn Olesen and Richard Finch.
“It’s fantastic to have the Abu Dhabi Invitational back on the calendar again in 2015 and I’m really looking forward to defending my title at Yas Links,” said Ramsay.
“The first class quality of the course helps attract a high calibre of players to the field and I’ve been putting in a lot of practice over the winter to make sure that I can put myself in contention again in 2015 ­ hopefully with another eagle or two on the scorecard at Yas Links!”
The tournament presents golf fans with the opportunity to see some of the game’s biggest stars partner up with a global selection of VVIP amateurs in a unique relaxed yet competitive environment.
Unlike previous years when it was played over one day, the 2015 Abu Dhabi Invitational will be a two-day, 36 hole event, with the famous Pro-Am on Day One and the Am-Am on Day Two.
The 58 Pros will compete for a US$500,000 purse on Day One while their VVIP amateur playing partners will then play alongside UAE-based executives and guests on Day Two, after which the 36-hole Amateur Champion will be crowned.
McIlroy and Ramsay will be joined in the field by some high calibre colleagues including 2009 Invitational winner and 2013-2014 Dubai Desert Classic Champion Stephen Gallacher, Golf in Abu Dhabi Ambassador Matteo Manassero, 2014 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Champion Pablo Larrazabal, David Howell and Jeev Milka-Singh.
Rising star Matt Fitzpatrick will also get his first taste of the tournament as will European golf legend Sandy Lyle and two young female stars, Amy Boulden and Carly Booth.
The amateur field will be a Who’s Who from the elite business world and will also feature some well-known sporting legends such as former international footballers Dwight Yorke, the ex-Manchester United striker, and Gabriel Batistuta, who is Argentina’s all-time leading goalscorer, along with cricket’s legendary spin bowler, Australia’s Shayne Warne and South Africa’s former wicket keeper Mark Boucher.
One of the highlights of the Abu Dhabi Invitational will be the red-carpet Gala Dinner at the event’s Official Hotel, the Yas Viceroy, this evening (Sunday 25th). One of the main purposes of the star-studded evening, as well as announcing the winners of the Pro-Am, is to raise money for the Official Charity via a hotly contested live auction. To this end, Official Watch Partner Hublot has donated a beautiful 18 Carat King Power watch.
“The charity auction at the Gala Dinner is one of the key aspects of the Abu Dhabi Invitational,” said Tournament Director James Bowring. “The generosity of our VIP guests, partners and players never ceases to amaze us and we’ve raised around US$1.2 million for charity since the inaugural Invitational in 2007. This year, we’re hoping to achieve a target of US$500,000.”
The Abu Dhabi Invitational is supported by Host Partner, Abu Dhabi Sports Council; Founders, Al Naboodah and Farooq Investments; Premium Partners Bentley, Ilyas & Mustafa Galadari Group, GEMS Education, International Petroleum Investment Company; Official Partners Luke Sport, Yas Links, Invest Africa, Hublot, Yas Viceroy; Support Partners San Pellegrino, Roberto Coin, Links Insurance Brokers, Golf Gamebook and Titleist; Media Partners Sport 360, Worldwide Golf, Golfing World and Event Partners IMG and The European Tour.


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