Ireland’s Shane Lowry birdied the final hole to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA by a single shot from Richard Sterne of South Africa.

Shane Lowry wins Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Shane Lowry came through a superb final round battle with Richard Sterne to win the first Rolex Series event of the European Tour’s 2019 season. The Irishman played a brilliant shot to the last to secure a birdie and win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship by a shot.

Lowry took the lead in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after a brilliant first round of 62. He held on to top spot going into the final day, the Irishman was three clear of his nearest challenger Richard Sterne.

But the South African came out of the blocks fast in the fourth round. In testing, windy conditions, he birdied his first three holes to tie Lowry at the top of the board.

By the time the pair reached the turn, the tide had fully turned in Sterne’s favour and it was the South African who was three clear.

When Lowry missed a par putt on the 11th, Sterne’s advantage was four and it looked like he would claim his first win since the 2013 Joburg Open.

But Lowry, who was also seeking to end a long winless drought – he last claimed a victory on the European Tour in the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational – dug deep and birdied the next two holes to reduce the deficit to two.

Sterne began to play defensively and dropped shots on the 14th and 16th saw him fall back into a tie for the lead with Lowry.

Both men made great par saves on the 17th and so headed to the home hole tied on 17-under-par.

Lowry drove first and found the fairway before Sterne followed suit. It was the South African who was first to take on the second shot to the par-5 18th and he let it get away, drifting to the right where he would find himself short-sided.

Shane Lowry fires a brilliant 3-wood to the last

Shane Lowry fires a brilliant 3-wood to the last

Lowry then played a brilliant 3-wood shot from 281 yards that found the heart of the green and left him with a 30-foot eagle putt.

After taking a drop from the cart path, Sterne faced a hugely difficult pitch and he did well to leave himself 25 feet for birdie. Lowry rolled his eagle putt to within two-feet of the cup and, after Sterne missed for four, the Irishman was left to tap in for the win.

Joost Luiten of the Netherlands produced a fabulous final round of 65 in the challenging conditions to end the week in third place, while Louis Oosthuizen bounced back from a disappointing third round 75 with a closing 66 to finish alone in fourth.

Joost Luiten closed with a 65

Joost Luiten closed with a 65

Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Abu Dhabi GC, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
16-19 Jan
Purse: $7,000,000 Par: 72

1 Shane Lowry (Ire) 62 70 67 71 270  €1,024,000
2 Richard Sterne (RSA) 65 68 69 69 271 €682,793
3 Joost Luiten (Ned) 69 68 71 65 273 €384,690
4 Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 65 68 75 66 274 €307,260
5 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 66 69 71 69 275 €260,557
T6 Paul Waring (Eng) 70 67 70 69 276 €184,356
T6 Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) 65 72 68 71 276 €184,356
T6 Ian Poulter (Eng) 66 69 69 72 276 €184,356
T9 Tom Lewis (Eng) 68 67 75 67 277 €130,278
T9 Brooks Koepka (USA) 67 70 70 70 277 €130,278

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage