Danny Willett finished off a field of tough customers with a 15-foot birdie putt for the win at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, taking his fourth European Tour title in the process.
He had to make the clutch putt to avoid a three-man playoff with fellow Brit Andy Sullivan and Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello. The Spaniard made two birdies to close his round and Sullivan had birdied 18 to make it a close call.
“Coming down the last with all the situations that were going on, it’s just nice to know that I can dig deep there and produce,” Willett said. ”
It’s Sullivan’s second straight runner-up spot after taking second behind Rory McIlroy at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai back in November.
Willett finished with a 70-65-65-69 – 269. Fourteen players finished within five strokes of the lead, including world No. 2 Rory McIlroy (-15) and current Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson (-15).
Willett won despite having three bogeys on Sunday. He had tallied just one on Days 2 and 3 while firing consecutive 65s. Sullivan’s low blemish on the day was a bogey on No. 6. Otherwise, he had gone 48 straight holes without a blemish, but put himself in a deep hole on Day 1 when he struck a double-bogey 7 on No. 10.
Cabrera-Bello was the model of consistency, with three straights 67s before a closing 69 on Sunday. He did most of his damage on the back nine, where he was 11-under through the span of 36 holes.
Alvaro Quiros and Byeong Hun An both fired 65s on Sunday to finish tied for fourth at 16-under, followed by McIlroy and Stenson at 15-under. McIlroy’s front nine hurt him on both Friday and Saturday, preventing him from making a true charge.
On Friday he staggered to a 3-over 38 on the front nine before birdying the last three holes to salvage a 72. On Saturday he was 2-over through nine, then 6-under on the back nine. For the tournament, McIlroy was even par on the front nine and 15-under on the back.
Stenson continued his opening-season rampage – he has now finished second, third and sixth this year.