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The entry list has now closed for the fourth annual Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, which will feature 120 golfers from 29 countries in one of the strongest fields assembled for the tournament.

A glittering array of household names, emerging talents and established stars from six continents make up the 2009 field, with the regular European Tour contingent joined by the cream of Argentina and Brazil to the West and India, Thailand, Australia and China to the East.

And with just a week to go until the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship gets underway, the expected 25,000-plus spectators only have a short wait before getting the chance to see some of the sport’s brightest stars in the UAE capital’s premier golfing event.

With World Numbers Two and Four, Sergio Garcia of Spain and Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, being joined by their European Team Ryder Cup team-mates, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson (World Number Eight), Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez (22), the English trio of Ian Poulter (26), Oliver Wilson (40) and 2007 Abu Dhabi champion Paul Casey (41), as well as reigning Masters Champion Trevor Immelman off South Africa (20), this year’s National Course field is packed with heavyweight contenders.

But after Martin Kaymer’s stunning wire-to-wire triumph last year, a victory which gave the current world number 25 his maiden Tour win, the Abu Dhabi galleries will be keeping a close eye on several of golf’s rising stars as they attempt to set the pace at Abu Dhabi Golf Club from January 15-18.

Emerging Englishmen Ross Fisher and Nick Dougherty, hot South African prospect James Kingston, Northern Ireland starlet Rory McIllroy, and Australian sensations Robert Allenby and Aaron Baddeley, are sure to attract their own share of the National Course support.

With experienced European Tour players Colin Montgomerie and Paul Lawrie of Scotland, Sweden’s Niclas Fasth, Ireland’s Paul McGinley and England’s David Howell, as well as American power-hitter John Daly and New Zealand’s Major-winner Michael Campbell also confirmed, the Falcon Trophy has a host of potential suitors.

Faisal Al Sheikh, Major Events Division Head, said: “With a world-class field featuring players from six continents, including two previous Abu Dhabi champions in Paul and Martin, four Major winners and dozens of Tour winners, the global appeal of the Championship continues to grow, and we are looking forward to its most successful – and hotly contested – edition yet.

Buoyed by the European Tour-sanctioned Championship’s prize fund of US$2million, organisers believe the world-class field will go all out for an early-season triumph.

“We are looking forward to a fiercely-contested battle,” said Tournament Executive Director, Peter German. “Since its inception in 2006 this Championship has gone from strength to strength, consistently attracting the world’s top ranked players who, in the main, are starting their year in Abu Dhabi.

“Victory right out of the blocks amongst such illustrious players is something every player will be striving for. What better way to start the year?”

Several improvements have been made to the Abu Dhabi Golf Club for the 2009 event, including a bigger spectator village and enhanced sponsors’ area and car parking.

All four days of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship will be covered live on high definition TV, reaching a global audience of more than 140 million in many of Abu Dhabi’s key inbound tourism markets.

The Abu Dhabi Golf Championship 2009 has a high profile sponsorship line up including: Etihad Airways, Aldar, newcomers Al Naboodah and Emirates Palace as Diamond Sponsors; Etisalat and Standard Chartered Bank as Platinum Sponsors; Nissan, Airbus, Rolls Royce, Rolex and Xerox as Gold Sponsors; and Cutter & Buck as official merchandise supplier.

The Championship officially begins on Wednesday January 14, with the Al-Masaood Pro-Am and Awards Gala when sponsors and their guests will play and socialise with some of the world’s best professionals.
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