Lee Westwood wins 25th European Tour title at Abu Dhabi Championship


Lee Westwood claims 25th European Tour title with a two stroke victory at the Abu Dhabi Championship 

Lee Westwood made history on Sunday as he became just the third player to win European Tour events in four different decades with victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The Englishman, who claimed his first win at the Scandinavian Masters in 1996, closed out a five-under 67 to earn the 25th European Tour title of his career on 19-under-par, marking his first win since the 2018 Nedbank Golf Challenge. 

"I can't believe I'm that old," Westwood said of his feat.

"It's a long time when you say it. I won my first tournament in 1996 in Sweden. I won that tournament, Scandinavian Masters in three different decades, and now won here this week. 20s could be the ones for me."

Westwood entered the final round in with a one shot lead, and remained at the top of the leaderboard for the entirety of the day. 

He was briefly caught by Matt Fitzpatrick, who strung together three birdies in a row from the second, but Westwood answered with his own gains at the second and third holes to regain the outright lead. 

From there the 46-year-old remained in control, adding further birdies at the fifth and eighth holes to move to 18-under-par before rolling in a putt on from the edge of the 12th green to briefly move three strokes clear. 

His only dropped shot of the day came at the par-four 16th, but he closed out his victory with a final hole birdie, and was quick to credit his putting for his win. 

"I felt pretty comfortable all week, and not sort of wanting to say how good I felt," said Westwood, who is now the eighth man to win multiple Rolex Series events.

"I've been swinging, but more trying to keep a lid on how good I felt I've been putting.

"I don't know why it is, I put in a lot of hard work with Phil Kenyon and I've been working with Ben Davis on the psychological part of it, but I really felt quite calm on the greens this week and rolled a lot of good putts. That was the key to winning, really. You've got to putt well to win any tournament, but especially these in the desert because the greens are so immaculate, you know that everybody is going to hole their putts."

Although not challenging Westwood for the rest of the round, Fitzpatrick also birdied the final hole to move in to a three-way tie for second on 17-under. He joined birthday boy Tommy Fleetwood and Frenchman Victor Perez, who both posted nine-under 63s, which marked the lowest round of Perez' European Tour career. 

Louis Oosthuzen finished two strokes further back for his third top-five in a row on 15-under, with Shaun Norris and Ross Fisher sharing sixth. Sergio Garcia, who made his first start since announcing his split with Callaway, finished tied for eighth with Martin Kaymer, Scott Jamieson and Bernd Wiesberger.