Ireland’s Shane Lowry produced a magnificent fightback to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for a first European Tour title since 2015.
Lowry carded a final-round 71 to reach 18 under par, a shot clear of Richard Sterne, at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
It was Lowry’s fourth European Tour success and will lift him from his current position of 75 in the official World Golf Rankings into the top 50.
“I completely thought I was gone to be honest,” Lowry told Sky Sports after being four shots behind with seven holes to play.
“I just tried to put him under as much pressure as I could. But I didn’t think I had that in me today. I’m so happy.”
Lowry had a three-shot overnight lead from Sterne, but that was quickly lost as the South African produced a birdie blitz at the start of the final round.
Sterne birdied four of the first five holes and went out in 31 as Lowry, who bogeyed the third, fifth and ninth, suffered a six-shot swing against him.
Lowry was four shots adrift when he bogeyed the 11th, but birdies on 12 and 13 – the latter a 30-foot putt – gave him hope that he could catch Sterne.
He also became the first player in European Tour history to make 11 birdie twos in a tournament when he birdied the short 12th.
The pressure got to Sterne as he dropped shots at 14 and 16, and a wayward approach to the final green opened the door for Lowry.
Sterne failed to get up and down for a birdie on the par-five 18th, and Lowry secured his first victory since the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with an 18-inch tap-in putt.
Dutchman Joost Luiten’s lengthy eagle putt on 18 gave him a best round of the day 65 and outright third place.
Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen fired a 66 to finish fourth and Soren Kjeldsen was a shot further back in fifth.
Paul Waring, Pablo Larrazabal and Ian Poulter, who closed with a disappointing 72, shared sixth place on 12 under.
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