Donaldson takes Abu Dhabi spoils
Last updated: 20th January 2013
Justin Rose led for three rounds, but it was Jamie Donaldson who emerged victorious at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Sunday.
The Welshman's final-round four-under-par 68 proved good enough for a narrow one shot victory over Dane Thorbjorn Olesen, who shot a 69, and overnight leader Rose, whose 71 did not prove good enough on the day.
There were nervous moments for Donaldson, who last July picked up his first European Tour victory at the Irish Open after more than 11 years without a win, when he three-putted the 18th green for a bogey six to bring Rose and Olesen back to within a shot of the lead, but both were unable to find the birdies they needed on the final hole to force a play-off.
Rose's eight-foot birdie putt lipped out and Olesen's 15-footer slid past to hand Donaldson his second career title.
"It's pretty surreal really, I've played really good all week although I've got away with murder up the last," said Donaldson.
"I thought one of them would hole if not both, but when both putts slipped by it was my week.
"I'm very happy to be stood here holding the trophy."
After taking 255 events to win his first title, it has now taken Donaldson only 13 more to double up.
"It's like buses isn't it?" he joked.
Donaldson admitted he could hardly believe he had won a tournament that featured the likes of World No 1 Rory McIlroy and World No 2 Tiger Woods - both of whom missed the cut on Friday - never mind an in-form Rose.
"I played the pro-am on Wednesday and thought the course was too difficult and I had no chance," Donaldson said. "I thought if I could get a decent finish I would be chuffed.
"To be holding this trophy is just mad."
While Rose will be bitterly disappointed after leading the tournament for three days only to be denied at the death, spare a thought for his countryman David Howell as well.
The former World No 9 (now 258th) charged into the lead with five birdies in the first ten holes, but bogeyed the short 12th and then splashed out of sand to four feet on the next and, incredibly, four-putted from there for a tripple bogey seven.
Howell eventually finished sixth, though a victory would have seen him rocket back into the world's top 100.
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