Tommy Fleetwood saved the best for last with a dominating final-round 65 to defend his title at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Sunday.
He needed a 17-under a year ago in the desert to fend off Dustin Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal. This time it took a 22-under to hold off fellow Englishman Ross Fisher.
Fleetwood was nearly perfect on the back nine, firing birdies on #10, #12, #13, #15 #16 and #18 to blitz past the competition. He birdied #18 on all four days of the competition.
“It was pretty good on that back nine really,” said Fleetwood. “I think at the turn, it was just a few shots – the up-and-down on ten, the up-and-down on 11, 13, got a bit lucky with the tee shot. When putts were going in like 15 and 16, you just feel like, could this be my day again. Then 18, I mean, forget the second shot, the up-and-down was one of the best up-and-downs I ever made. So happy days.”
It’s Fleetwood’s fourth career title on the European Tour, and his third in the last 365 days. He will move into the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings on Monday for the first time in his career.
Fisher played well enough to win, shooting a final-round 69 to finish at 20-under. He looked close to unbeatable on the front nine, firing an eagle on #2
Rory McIlroy, playing for the first time since his injury, finished tied for third, shooting a final-round 70. He was within striking distance, 2-under at the turn, but parred the next eight holes in a row before bogeying #17 and birdying #18.
World #1 Dustin Johnson finished tied for ninth at 14-under.