England’s Tommy Fleetwood fired a final round of 67 at Abu Dhabi GC to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship by a single shot from Dustin Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal.
Tommy Fleetwood began the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship one stroke behind his fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton but a back nine of 31 allowed him to pull clear on a packed leaderboard.
The Englishman made the turn in level par 36 but made his move with a chip-in eagle on the 10th. He followed that with birdies at the 11th, 16th and the 18th to set a clubhouse total of 17-under-par. Those chasing were unable to match that total and Fleetwood had his second European Tour title, following the Johnnie Walker Championship of 2013.
“The chip-in on ten, birdie on 11, changed everything all of a sudden from nowhere and I was leading,” he said.
Martin Kaymer and Kiradech Aphibarnrat led through nine holes as both made the turn in 33 in testing, breezy conditions. Neither Kaymer nor Aphibarnrat could make any further progress though as they came home in 36 to finish in a tie for fourth place.
Pablo Larrazabal and Dustin Johnson came through to share second place. The Spaniard chipped in on the 14th to move into a share of the lead, but Fleetwood pulled away and Larrazabal couldn’t catch him. 2016 U.S. Open champion Johnson looked to have a chance after picking up a shot on the 13th, but when he dropped a stroke at the next hole, he left himself too much to do.
3 Talking points from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
1 – This was Tommy Fleetwood’s second European Tour title following the 2013 Johnnie Walker Championship. The victory caps a welcome return to form for the Englishman who spent some time struggling with his game. Following the 2015 Scottish Open, he recorded just one top-10 on Tour.
“I thought maybe the second win would come sooner to be honest,” he said. “It’s been a massive comeback. I made it up to Finn, who has been caddying for me, one of my best mates. We made the switch and not a lot of people thought it would work and we proved them all wrong. It feels great. I had a really hard time from July 2015 to July last year where I really struggled with my game. It’s been an awkward curve. The only thing left was ‘let’s get a win’, but, you know, you keep knocking on the door it will come. I didn’t really think it would be this week. It just shows a lot can happen in golf.”
Tommy Fleetwood swing sequence:
2 – Martin Kaymer had a chance at another victory in Abu Dhabi before ending the week in a tie for fourth place. The German has an incredible record in this event. Since 2008 he has been a winner three times, runner-up once and this result represents a third further top-10.
3 – Pablo Larrazabal gave himself a chance of matching Fleetwood’s final score with a birdie on the 17th hole. He needed to eagle the par-5 last to reach 17-under. He received a free drop after his drive, and another after his second but he was unable to hole his pitch to force a playoff. Still, he birdied the hole to finish tied for second.
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Abu Dhabi GC, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Purse €2,500,000 par 72
1 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 67 67 70 67 271 €421,139
T2 Dustin Johnson (USA) 72 68 64 68 272 €219,470
T2 Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) 68 67 69 68 272 €219,470
T4 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 66 68 70 69 273 €107,306
T4 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 66 66 72 69 273 €107,306
T4 Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 68 69 68 68 273 €107,306
7 Dean Burmeister (RSA) 69 70 66 69 274 €75,805
T8 Peter Hanson (Swe) 68 69 68 70 275 €56,770
T8 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 64 71 71 69 275 €56,770
T8 Lee Westwood (Eng) 68 69 69 69 275 €56,770
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage