Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez came through a sudden-death playoff against Lee Westwood to win the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club. It was his 16th European Tour victory.
On a testing final day, the lead changed hands numerous times with none of the leading players able to break clear from the pack. As swirling winds and firm greens made life difficult, it was a question of holding on over the closing 18-holes rather than making huge numbers of birdies.
Jiménez fought bravely to card a level par 72 and Westwood was able to match that number with a long two-putt birdie across the final green.
The pair travelled back to the 18th tee to settle the title and it was Westwood who had a clear advantage, being the only one of the two able to reach the par 5 green in two blows. Both players found the fairway though Miguel was well back and had no choice but to lay-up. Westwood then struck a solid 3-wood to the rough on the left side of the green. Jiménez was fortunate that his third shot carried the water and he was left with a testing chip from the edge of the hazard. He played it well though and made five. Westwood’s pitch left him a tricky 12-foot putt for birdie and the title, but it narrowly missed.
So, it was back to the tee to repeat the process. Westwood found the fairway again and Jiménez the right rough. The Spaniard was only able to hack out some 100 yards down the fairway and Westwood, once again, carried the water with his second leaving a pitch down the green. Jiménez faced a 200-yard shot for his third and it found the back bunker. Westwood failed to get up and down for a second time and that gave Jiménez a chance to stay in it. He grittily holed a 12-footer for par to continue the duel.
This time they went to the 9th tee. After reasonable tee shots, both missed the green and chipped up to a similar distance. Westwood went first and missed his par effort. Jiménez was left with a sliding left to right putt to take the title and he duly knocked it in.
At 46-years-old Jiménez is the oldest winner on the European Tour since Mark O’Meara won the Dubai Desert Classic in 2004. After several near misses in this tournament, the Spaniard’s triumph puts him back into the top-50 in the world.
“I feel so proud to win this trophy. I like the golf course, I like the ambience and I like the people and I am very happy,” said Jiménez.
Omega Dubai Desert Classic
Emirates GC, Dubai, UAE
Feb 4-7, purse €1,800,000, par 72
1 Miguel Angel Jiménez (Esp) 70 67 68 72 277 €296,500
2 Lee Westwood (Eng) 72 65 68 72 277 €197,664
3 Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 70 66 69 73 278 €111,367
T4 Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 68 70 70 71 279 €82,190
T4 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 71 70 68 70 279 €82,190
T6 Alvaro Quiros (Esp) 69 69 67 75 280 €57,818
T6 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 68 70 69 73 280 €57,818
T8 Tom Watson (USA) 73 70 71 68 282 €39,968
T8 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 76 69 69 68 282 €39,968
T8 Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 74 70 70 68 282 €39,968
Note: Player scores in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only