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Donaldson Wins in Abu Dhabi
Welshman Jamie Donaldson overcame a two-stroke deficit on Sunday to edge 54-hole leader Justin Rose and win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. The $2.7 million European Tour event took place at the par-72 Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
The 37-year-old Donaldson closed with a 4-under 68 to finish at 14-under 274, one stroke ahead of Rose (71) and Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen (69).
The victory was Donaldson's second after his maiden win last year in the Irish Open in what was then his 255th tournament. The late-bloomer took only 13 more events to notch his second triumph. The Abu Dhabi title should also move him into the top 30 in the world rankings; he's already guaranteed a spot to play in his first Masters in April.
Donaldson's name ended up atop of the leaderboard following Friday's abrupt dismissal of the world's two top-ranked players, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, who failed to make the weekend cut after playing poorly.
"Obviously the lads, some of the top names, didn't make the cut," said Donaldson, who took home $450,000. "Awesome," Donaldson added about his accomplishment. "It was a tough field, a brutal golf course, and to sit here as the winner is quite surreal."
Rose could have forced a tie but his short birdie putt on the last hole lipped out. Though disappointed with his near-miss, Rose tipped his cap to the winner. "You want to close out with a chance to win when you have it and didn't do that today but I didn't do a lot wrong either," said the 32-year-old Englishman.
"It's hard to beat yourself up about it," added Rose. "Jamie played a good round of golf today and Thorbjorn did as well. I did some things on the back nine that really, really counted, to be honest. I made some good putts and I hit a good putt at 18. I really was enjoying that last hole to try to make birdie, force the [playoff]. And made four-and-a-half.
"It reminded me exactly of the putt at 18 against Phil [Mickelson] at Medinah," Rose said of the birdie putt he made to help the Europeans to victory in the 2012 Ryder Cup. "Just outside right edge and that's exactly where I hit it, and unfortunately this time the putt didn't go in for me. Would I swap it? No, I wouldn't."
Other scores included a 68 by Portugal's Ricardo Santos that took him to solo fourth at 277. The winner of three of the past five tournaments in Abu Dhabi, Martin Kaymer of Germany, shot a 69 to tie for sixth at 279, while American Jason Dufner had a 68 to finish a stroke back in a tie for ninth with eight other players.