Donaldson rallies past Rose to win in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (Sports Network) - Jamie Donaldson closed with a 4-under 68 on Sunday to come from behind and win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship by one stroke.
Donaldson, who will move inside the top 30 in the world with this win, finished at 14-under 274. This was his second victory on the European Tour.
"It's pretty surreal really. I played really good all week, and particularly well today," Donaldson said at the trophy presentation. "I played the pro-am and thought this golf course was too difficult, but to stand here with the trophy is just mad."
Justin Rose, who had at least a piece of the lead after the first three rounds, and Thorbjorn Olesen both missed birdie putts on the final green at Abu Dhabi Golf Club that would have forced a playoff.
Rose carded a 1-under 71 to end at minus-13. Olesen overcame a double-bogey at the sixth to post his third straight 69, which left him tied with Rose.
Ricardo Santos, last year's Rookie of the Year, posted a 4-under 68 to take fourth at 11-under-par 277. Branden Grace fired a 7-under 65 to grab fifth at minus-10.
Rose, Donaldson, Olesen and David Howell all had at least a piece of the lead on the front nine. Around the turn, Howell briefly grabbed the lead with a birdie on No. 10. He slipped one back of Donaldson with a bogey at the 12th, then fell off the pace with a 4-putt double-bogey at the 13.
Donaldson birdied the 11th for the first time all week to give him a share of the lead with Howell and Rose. After Howell fell down the leaderboard, Rose slipped one back after a bogey at 11.
Rose atoned for that mistake with a 15-foot birdie putt on 12 to join Donaldson at minus-13. Donaldson briefly regained the lead with a 20-foot birdie effort at 14.
However, Rose matched him with a 5-foot birdie try on the same hole. Donaldson made it two in a row with a 15-foot birdie putt on 15.
Donaldson parred the next two and found himself two clear of Rose, who tripped to a bogey at 16 after hitting a poor approach shot.
At the last, Donaldson found the rough off the tee, then played down the fairway. His third to the par-5 closing hole stopped some 50 feet from the cup. The Welshman 3-putted for bogey, then had to wait and watch.
Rose had birdie putts on the final two holes from inside 12 feet. He failed to convert at 17, and after Olesen missed a birdie try at 18, Rose's 9-footer to force a playoff lipped out to give Donaldson the title.
Olesen went 41 straight holes without a bogey before making a mess of the sixth en route to a double-bogey. He slowly fought back into the picture with birdies at 10 and 13. Olesen converted a 9-foot birdie effort at 17 to get within one, but was unable to birdie the last from about 12 feet out.
"I got away with murder there at the last to be fair, but happy to hold the trophy. I thought one of them would hole it, if not both to be honest," said Donaldson. "I was thinking it would be a playoff, but when both putts slid by, I guess it was my week. I thought I hit a good putt to finish, but I just misread it."
Howell closed with a 71 to end alongside three-time champion Martin Kaymer (69) and Joost Luiten (67) in sixth place at 9-under 279.
Jason Dufner (68) shared ninth place at minus-8 with Anders Hansen (69), Peter Hanson (69), Thongchai Jaidee (73), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (72), George Coetzee (69), Jbe Kruger (70) and Jorge Campillo (69).
NOTES: Donaldson, who also won last year's Irish Open, collected 336,726 euros for the victory ... Donaldson waited until his 255th tour event for his first victory, but only went 13 more before picking up his second title ... Rose had been 2-for-2 on the European Tour when holding the 54-hole lead ... The tour heads to Doha next week for the Qatar Masters, where Paul Lawrie won the wind- shortened event by four strokes last year.
01/20 09:03:25 ET