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Brooks Koepka, current world No.1, returns to the HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship after a gap of five years. Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: World No.1 Brooks Koepka, two-time champion Tommy Fleetwood lead a start-studded field for the 2020 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, scheduled to be held at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club from January 16-19.

Defending champion Shane Lowry will be looking to record back-to-back victories here after his thrilling one-shot victory over South African Richard Sterne in January kick-started an unforgettable season for the Irishman. Winless on the Tour since 2015, the Falcon Trophy victory proved to be the turning point for Lowry, who went on to clinch his first Major with The Open Championship at Royal Portrush in July. Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Bryson DeChambeau are among the others to provide a huge depth to the field.

Fleetwood, a 2018 Ryder Cup hero, returns with the aim of becoming only the second person after Martin Kaymer (2008, 2010, 2011) to win the tournament three times. Fan favourite Fleetwood will be looking to build on his superb play-off victory at Sun City and should feel confident of putting in a strong performance on a course he knows so well, having claimed consecutive victories in 2017 and 2018.

Current world No.1 and 2018 US PGA Tour Player of the Year, Koepka will be looking to start his season off on a high note after three months on the sidelines with a knee injury. “It was great to return to Abu Dhabi earlier this year for the first time since 2014. Having last played there as a Challenge Tour graduate, I was able to return as a Major champion and enjoy all the support of the amazing fans. I love getting back out there on the European Tour and I am delighted to be returning to Abu Dhabi this January. The tournament attracts many of the best players in the world, it’s on a world class course, has beautiful weather, so I think it is the perfect place to start the year after a longer than expected time away from the game due to injury,” the American said in a press release.

Fleetwood said: “The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is definitely one of the most popular tournaments amongst the players and a personal favourite of mine. Having won the Championship twice, I feel very at home on the National Course and I hope I can take advantage of that again in January.”

Lowry said: “I have amazing memories of my time in Abu Dhabi earlier this year. The manner in which I won the Falcon Trophy was a real catalyst for me and gave me a huge confidence boost going into 2019. I have no doubt about what an important part the victory in Abu Dhabi played in helping me go on to win The Open that summer.”

Former world number five, Ian Poulter finished T-6 last year Championship and should feel confident of putting in another strong performance in his fifth consecutive appearance at the tournament. The 16-time European Tour winner and Masters Champion, Sergio Garcia, will be making his first appearance at the tournament since 2014. The talented Spaniard recently won the KLM Open in September and will be hoping to claim a win in Abu Dhabi against such a stellar field.

Having missed the tournament in 2019, Bryson DeChambeau returns to the iconic Abu Dhabi Golf Club with a point to prove. With five PGA Tour victories, DeChambeau will be eager to make his mark in the Middle East.

Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “We are delighted to welcome Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Bryson DeChambeau to Abu Dhabi for our award-winning Championship. Shane’s performance last year was truly memorable and consistent with the sporting excellence that we associate with the tournament.”

As part of the prestigious Rolex Series, the tournament offers a prize fund of US$7 million and is one of the landmark tournaments on The European Tour.