Welshman Jamie Donaldson suffered a nervous wait on the 18th green on his way to securing the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, as world number four Justin Rose came within inches of claiming a play-off.
Donaldson overhauled Rose’s two-shot lead to win by one in the Middle East, but he almost missed out after bogeying the last, only to see Rose lip-out his birdie attempt from around 12-feet.
It meant Donaldson claimed the £280,000 first prize and moves inside the world’s top-30 for the first time in his career.
Donaldson had five birdies in his final round and did not drop a shot until the final hole, to finish on 14-under-par. He said: “It was important to play well this week with the field that I was playing in. I played great all week.
“It’s pretty surreal really, I’ve played really good all week although I’ve got away with murder up the last. I thought one of them would hole if not both, but when both putts slipped by it was my week. I’m very happy to be stood here holding the trophy. I didn’t have high expectations – the best finish I’ve had here is 11th before, so to win is great.”
Donaldson’s win was also briefly threatened by rising star Thorbjorn Olesen, who also needed a birdie at the 18th to force a play-off, but couldn’t hole his 15-foot putt.
Rose, who had led for three rounds, said: “It was definitely hard work today. For some reason it was hard to see the breaks on the front nine, but I pulled it together really well and felt I got into a really good competitive mode.
“When I birdied 14 I didn’t realise Jamie had had a hot round. I had actually expected to be one ahead at that point and I was one behind, so every credit to Jamie.
“I didn’t do a lot wrong. It’s hard to beat yourself up about it. I felt like I brought my best stuff on the back nine rather than the front nine, so that’s encouraging. I don’t think I need to do anything different – just need to keep chipping away and keep swinging well.”
Arguable the biggest sidestroy of the day was the rise and fall of likeable Englishman David Howell, who charged into the lead with five birdies in the first 10 holes.
But the former Ryder Cup star bogeyed the short 12th, then on 13 managed to four-putt from four feet for a triple bogey seven and eventually finish in a tie for sixth.
Here are the clubs that the victorious Welshman used:
Driver: TaylorMade Burner Superfast 9.5 degree with Graffaloy Prolite 3.5X
Fairway woods: TaylorMade Rocketballz Tour Fairway
Irons:Ping i15 (3-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 shafts
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled 48, 54 and 60 degree with True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 shafts
Putter: Odyssey White Ice Sabertooth
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Clothing: Galvin Green Ventil8
Shoes: FootJoy Icon
Glove: FootJoy Stasof