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Mickelson, McIlroy grouped early at Abu Dhabi

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Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy will be grouped together during the first two rounds of the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, which begins Thursday. Defending champion Jamie Donaldson will round out the threesome.

Mickelson and McIlroy, Nos. 5 and 7, respectively in the world rankings, were last paired together at the Open Championship. McIlroy missed the cut at Muirfield, while Mickelson played one of his best final rounds ever in winning his fifth major title. 

The event’s two biggest stars will tee it up at 7:40 a.m. local time Thursday (10:40 p.m. ET, Wednesday). 

Other notable groups in Abu Dhabi: 

• 10:30 p.m. ET: Matteo Manassero, Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer 

• 11 p.m. ET: Peter Uihlein, Darren Clarke, Robert Rock 

• 3:15 a.m. ET: Thomas Bjorn, Luke Donald, Henrik Stenson