March 24, 2017

Abu Dhabi leader Hatton proves major displays were no fluke

24 January 2017, 12:45 | Carolyn Briggs

Tommy Fleetwood What's In The Bag?

Fleetwood wins in Abu Dhabi, Fox 19th

TOMMY FLEETWOOD ended a 1,247-day wait for his second European Tour title - then claimed he was happier for his caddie!

In a tense final round in which five players held the lead, the 26-year-old Fleetwood chipped in for eagle from 20 yards out at the par-5 10th hole to spark a back nine of 31.

However, he defied the gusty conditions to finally add to his tally as despite an early bogey, four birdies and a chip-in eagle on the tenth saw him sign for 67 on Sunday, a tally that gave him a winning 72-hole score of 17-under. The top 50 is the promised land for players of Fleetwood's stature, as it would guarantee a trip to the Masters if they are there in late March.

Aphibarnrat grabbed the early initiative and leapfrogged the overnight leader, Tyrrell Hatton, with birdies on his first two holes, before temporarily moving two ahead when Hatton bogeyed the third.

Fleetwood, meanwhile, who had not won since the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in August 2013, was rewarded for maintaining his strong climax to past year. His career-high ranking was 47th in July 2015, after which he changed his swing - hoping, in his words, "it would make me a world-class golfer" - and got stuck in a rut. Kaymer (69), a three-time victor in Abu Dhabi, also eagled No. 18 and was in a three-way share for 4th place with Aphibarnrat and Bernd Wiesberger.

"The only thing left was "let's get a win" but, you know, if you keep knocking on the door it will come". You never know how you're going to come out and play in your first tournament of the year.

"I$3 didn't see it coming really". It's been an awkward curve and massive comeback. You've got to take those chances if you want to win.

"I'm just glad I hit a few good ones off the designated tees to increase the donation amount", he said. "To be honest, that (approach) was easier than the four foot putt to win in the end". "I just didn't roll any putts in".

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