Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and four others to watch at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship

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Ahead of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship that starts on Thursday, we look at six star players set to shine.

Who do you think will win?

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DUSTIN JOHNSON

World Ranking: 1

2017 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship result: T2

Best results in 2017: Winner (Genesis Open, WGC – Mexico Championship, WGC – Dell Technologies Match Play, The Northern Trust)

Last five tournaments: T33-T17-T2-T14-1

Last five years at Abu Dhabi: DNP-DNP-DNP-DNP-T2

The battle between Johnson and Justin Rose will have most golf fans licking their lips, with the American looking in solid form of late.

Known for making a fast start to his season, the Abu Dhabi course should definitely suit the World No1’s style of power golf.

His win at the Tournament of Champions two weeks ago will certainly add confidence ahead of his return to the capital where he finished T2 in 2017.

JUSTIN ROSE

World Ranking: 6

2017 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship result: DNP

Best results in 2017: Winner (WGC – HSBC Championships, Turkish Airlines Open, Indonesian Masters)

Last five tournaments: 1-T4-T10-T5-1

Last five years at Abu Dhabi: T2-DNP-T12-DNP-DNP

The rock-solid Englishman was denied a second major after losing a play-off to Sergio Garcia at The Masters in April, but went on to have his most successful season with ten consecutive top-10 finishes and three tournament victories.

Undoubtedly the most in-form player in the world at present, Rose is sure to be in around the leading pack come Sunday.

DP World Tour Championship - Day Four

HENRIK STENSON

World Ranking: 9

2017 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship result: T8

Best results in 2017: Winner (Wyndham Championship)

Last five tournaments: T17-T51-T2-T35-17

Last five years at Abu Dhabi: T23-T80-MC-T3-T8

Stenson has always had a reputation as a player who prospers on tough courses and has reiterated his desire to clinch the Falcon Trophy – the one Middle East trophy missing from his mantlepiece.

The former UAE resident has had to contend with fitness issues in the first few weeks of the season over the years, but he looks sharp and will be bidding to gather some early momentum at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Could this be the year everything falls into place for the Swede?

WGC - HSBC Champions: Day Four

RORY MCILROY

World Ranking: 11

2017 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship result: DNP

Best results in 2017: Runner-up (BMW SA Open, British Masters)

Last five tournaments: T34-MC-T58-2-T63

Last five years at Abu Dhabi: MC-T2-2-T3-DNP

An obvious choice given his remarkable form at this venue over the years – despite not yet adding the Falcon trophy to his impressive collection.

The Northern Irishman trained in Dubai in the off-season and loves conditions here, but his matchplay is no doubt a little rusty as he still feels his way back.

Few would bet against McIlroy starting his campaign off on the front foot in Abu Dhabi.

World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play - Round One

MATT KUCHAR

World Ranking: 15

2017 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship result: DNP

Best results in 2017: Runner-up (Open Championship)

Last five tournaments: T10-T31-T31-T29-T9

Last five years at Abu Dhabi: DNP-DNP-DNP-DNP-DNP

The American’s debut in Abu Dhabi will surely add to the excitement as he tees off alongside Rose and Stenson today

Although he has not tasted victory since the Fiji International in October 2015, Kuchar has been compiling some consistent results, with four top-10 finishes since sealing a runner-up spot at the Open Championship in July.

A seven-time PGA Tour winner, he may struggle to adapt to the desert conditions, but expect the 39-year-old to be a top-20 finisher.

TOMMY FLEETWOOD

World Ranking: 18

2017 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship result: Winner

Best results in 2017: Winner (Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, HNA Open de France)

Last five tournaments: T23-T10-T21-6-T3

Last five years at Abu Dhabi: MC-T19-MC-MC-1

Not only is the defending champion and European No.1 super-motivated to have a positive start to the season, he is also in decent form with a sixth and third place finish in Hong Kong and the Bahamas last month.

More importantly, the Englishman seems to love the UAE conditions of late, with his driving a huge advantage.

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