Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Since its inauguration in 2016, the Abu Dhabi Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open (FBM) has become one of the flagship events of the Ladies European Tour. The 2020 edition, taking place between March 6 & 7, will have a new and exciting sudden-death style playoff format! Contested on the Championship course at Yas Links, it’s the first exclusively ladies professional golf event to take place in the UAE capital.
The Abu Dhabi Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open (FBM) is usually played in January and kicks off the Ladies European Tour (LET) calendar. The 2020 edition will be played in March to align with the new LET schedule.
The tournament, an LET event, gained extra significance with the announcement in November that the LET is uniting with the LPGA. The joint venture means successful golfers on the LET could be fast-tracked into more lucrative tournaments in the United States. It also means increased prize money for LET players.
The FBM Ladies Open contributes to the LET Order of Merit, the equivalent of the Race to Dubai in the men’s game. From 2020 it will be known as the Race to Costa del Sol, with an increased bonus prize fund of €250,000, with the top player on the money list at the end of the year getting €125,000.
England‘s Charley Hull will return in 2020 to defend her title. She was victorious in 2019 with a wire-to-wire victory, securing her second LET title in the process. She shot rounds of 67, 72 and 69 in windy conditions at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club for a total of 8-under, to finish one stroke ahead of Norway‘s Marianne Skarpnord. Her victory was all the more sweet after she made a dramatic clutch up and down from the bunker on the 18th. The new pro-am format introduced for the 2019 tournament was a resounding success among amateurs and professionals alike.
36 LET professionals will each accompany an amateur as they compete for the title across the two-day event. As in 2019 there will be two leaderboards, a typical strokeplay competition for the professionals and a better ball pairs (one pro with one amateur) leaderboard. For 2020, the professional tournament format will have a new and exciting element. After the professionals have battled it out over rounds 1 & 2, the top eight players will compete in a shootout for the title. This will be conducted under similar rules to a sudden-death playoff, with all players starting on the same hole and proceeding until the winner is left standing.
Yas Links, set on the western shores of Yas Island, is the new venue for the event. It was formerly staged at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club. Ranked by All Square as one of the top 100 golf courses in the world and the best in the Middle East, it’s a superb Scottish-style seaside links course where every daunting, dynamic hole has sparkling coastline views of the Arabian Gulf. Eight holes run right up along the coastline. Designed by renowned architect Kyle Phillips, it also has one of the best finishing stretches in golf, with the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park and the Yas Marina Circuit, home to the Formula 1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in the background.