Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship: Tyrrell Hatton holds nerve as McIlroy misses out again
Dubai: Tyrell Hatton held his nerve over the final 18 holes to claim the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship title for the first time as Rory McIlroy missed out yet again.
The Northern Irishman returned to Abu Dhabi with a mission — to claim a title he has narrowly missed out on so many times - but it was not to be as he found a formidable opponent in Hatton, who put in an impeccable performance on Sunday to get over the line with room to spare.
Two bogeys on the front nine were McIlroy’s undoing as he saw a two-stroke advantage evaporate while Hatton was picking up three birdies before the turn.
McIlroy did not even get to ‘celebrate’ his fifth runners-up spot in the Rolex Series event — an unwanted tag despite the payday in the $8 million purse event. His game fell apart on the back nine and two more bogeys meant Jason Scrivener of Australia took second spot with a solid 66 for a 14-under par total.
McIlroy settled for third on his own, one ahead of Spain’s Dubai resident Rafa Cabrera Bello.
England’s Tommy Fleetwood was in contention, but a calamitous six on the par-four 17th sent him plummeting down the field and he settled for a one-over 73 and a share of seventh alongside compatriots Matt Wallace and Chris Paisley, and Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti.
David Lipsky of the United States and Scotland’s Marc Warren were tied for fifth.
But Sunday belonged to Hatton, who enjoyed a four-stroke lead as he walked up the last and carded a flawless six-under 66 — with six birdies and zero bogeys — to allow him to lift the Falcon Trophy and follow in the footsteps of such great names as Shane Lowry, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey and Martin Kaymer.