Larrazabal pips Rory, Phil to the title
All eyes were on Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson on the final day of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, but Pablo Larrazabal was the man who walked away with the trophy.
The Spaniard started the day three shots off third-round leader Craig Lee, but he produced a closing five-under-par 67 for a tournament total of 14 under – one shot better than McIlroy and Mickelson, who were tied second.
His round included three birdies and a bogey on the front nine and three more birdies after the turn as he put down the marker to the chasing pack.
Lee from Scotland had a round to forget as he carded a 77 to drop down the leaderboard while McIlroy, who was still smarting after receiving a two-stroke penalty on Saturday, produced a 68 with five birdies and a bogey.
Multiple major winner Mickelson was the man to watch on the final day, but his challenge took a hammer blow when he made a triple bogey at the par-four 13th. That left him needing an eagle on the final hole, but he could only manage a birdie to finish with a 69.
“It feels great,” Larrazabal told the official European Tour website after winning his third title. “Only me and my team know how much we’ve worked during the last three years.
“I want to thank so many people starting with my brand Callaway – they set up a driver I hit 20-25 metres further. Then I want to thank my team and my girlfriend. It’s just unbelievable.
“The birdie at 13 gave me the confidence to keep it going and I hit great shots coming in. The five wood at 18 is maybe the best shot of my golfing career.”
South African George Coetzee and Rafael Cabrera Bello from Spain were tied for fourth at 12 under while Joost Luiten was another two shots adrift.
European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley and Sergio Garcia were in a group tied for 19th at six under after rounds of 70 and 68 respectively.
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