Gallacher Wins Second Dubai Title in a Row; Rory Falters

After getting off to a rugged start, Stephen Gallacher gathered himself on the back nine to win the Dubai Desert Classic for the second year in a row. The 39-year-old Scot closed with an even-par 72 to finish at 16-under 272 and edge Argentina's Emilio Grillo by a stroke.

Gallacher recorded four bogeys on the front nine to fall into a five-way tie for the lead through 11 holes. But from that point forward, he surged, carding four birdies the rest of the way for the narrow win, his third overall on the European Tour.

"It took everything I had after the start," Gallacher told Sky Sports. "It was the plague of the front nine again. I was quite fortunate that nobody was running away with it so I just tried to hit one shot at a time and stay in it.

"When I holed a nice putt on 11, I thought I was back in with a chance and then I had three birdies from there in."

Grillo shot a 6-under 66 to end up at 273, while sharing third at 274 were Frenchman Romain Wattel (66) and American Brooks Koepka (70).

Mikko Ilonen (64), Robert Rock (70), Steve Webster (70) and Thorbjorn Olesen (71) tied for fifth at 275. Another stroke back were Paul Casey (67), Bernd Wiesberger (68), Edoardo Molinari (71) and Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy began Sunday in second place and just two strokes behind Gallacher. But the 24-year-old Northern Irishman never got untracked in the final round, posting four bogeys and two birdies for a 74.

"I think anything that sort of could go wrong did," McIlroy said. "I hit a couple of loose drives, but I didn't really get away with them."

Also in the field this week was the top-ranked player in the world. After opening with rounds of 68, 73 and 70, Tiger Woods carded a 71 Sunday to end up tied for 41st at 6-under 282.

He had three bogeys and four birdies - all on the back nine - Sunday. "Unfortunately, I turned it around too late," Woods said of his play down the stretch. "I piped it all day. My iron game was not as sharp as I'd like, and I didn't make anything (with the putter). I had seven lip-outs today. That's quite a few."

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