Pablo Larrazabal capitalised on the mistakes of both Rory Mcilroy and Phil Mickelson yesterday to win the Abu Dhabi Championship. Larrazabal held off any competition by holing a solid four-foot putt on the final hole for birdie to win his third European Tour Tournament. Mickelson was still to play the final hole but had to make an eagle in order to force a play-off, since he left himself two shots adrift after a calamitous seven at the 13th which saw him pick up a two shot penalty for a double hit whilst playing a shot right-handed. Mcilroy was stuck in a similar situation on Saturday where he was penalised two shots for a slight rule infringement which entailed with Mcilroy taking a free drop off a path but still having one foot on the path and the other foot off, a slightly bizarre rule to say the least.
Craig Lee started the day with a three shot lead ahead of Mcilroy and the lead was short-lived as Lee dwindled off out of contention and headed towards a final round of 77. The lead changed hands throughout the round with Mcilroy taking a one shot lead after birdies at the seventh and eighth took him to 11 under-par and looking to kick-start his 2014 with a big win. However, Mickelson was hot on his tail after recovering well from a wayward drive on the eighth which saw his efforts take him into a one shot lead round the turn on 12 under. There were birdies galore on the final day with George Coetzee shooting a 33 after nine holes and then gaining three shots back on the leading pack with a hat-trick of birdies from the 11th. Coetzee finished as the club house leader on 12 under-par but with Mcilroy, Mickelson and Larrazabal still to come in, it seemed 12 under-par would not be the score to win the tournament. Mickelson birdied the 16th to move on shot behind Larrazabal but with the Spaniard hitting an immaculate 270 yard shot into the final hole, the task for Mickelson moved closer to impossible. Larrazabal’s eagle putt was left short but he held his nerves to birdie the hole for a final round of 67 and to win by one shot on 14 under par. Mickelson and Mcilroy rue their mistakes and finished tied for second place respectively.