Lee Westwood holds off triple threat to triumph in Abu Dhabi

Lee Westwood holds off triple threat to triumph in Abu Dhabi

Lee Westwood held off the challenges of fellow Englishmen Matt Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood plus France’s Victor Perez to clinch the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a final-round score of 67.

The former world number one was the overnight leader and although his one-shot advantage came under threat, he claimed another of the European Tour’s prestigious Rolex Series events to take his total of victories on his home circuit to 25.

Fitzpatrick was two off Westwood before the start of the day and an impressive front nine saw him pile on the pressure.

But the 46-year-old kept his cool and continued to putt well to secure a two-shot victory with a final day five under to finish on 19 under overall and make him a winner in four different decades.

“It’s been a good week,” Westwood told europeantour.com. “I wasn’t really paying any attention to what other people were doing.

“I was trying to control me, control my emotions and control what I’m working on in the golf swing. Just managed to do that.

“A little slip-up at 16. Like I said yesterday, with what I’m working on, if I don’t quite do it, I hit a pull, and I hit a pull second shot and pulled the putt actually, as well, but I hit some good shots coming in, and really just pleased with the way I controlled myself.”

Westwood was 63 in the world going into the event, but the first victory by an English player on the 2020 Race to Dubai should move him into the top 30.

Fitzpatrick is already in there and was pleased to start the year with a strong performance, he added: “Front nine I felt like could I hole everything and managed to hole one putt for par, which was nice to keep a bit of momentum going.

England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick follows his ball on the first hole (Kamran Jebreili/AP)
England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick follows his ball on the first hole (Kamran Jebreili/AP)

“Just on back nine, just couldn’t make a thing. It was just one of those days, but hey, that’s golf. I’m delighted. It’s a great start to the year.”

Fleetwood, on his 29th birthday, carded a final round of nine under to finish on 17 under, but fell just short of winning the event for a third time.

He said: “You just concentrate on what you’re doing and every time, every week we play, somebody is going to play great golf and at the moment that’s Lee.

“I’m very, very happy with my weekend, I felt like I played some really good golf.”

Perez joined Fleetwood with a final round of 63 to come joint-second while Louis Oosthuizen finished fifth on 15 under.

Sergio Garcia finished six off Westwood to come tied for eighth alongside Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, who was in the running overnight with Italian Francesco Laporta, but both men endured difficult final days.

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