Tommy Fleetwood dramatically capitalized on a Rory McIlroy error on the 18th hole to snatch a one-shot victory in what was a tightly-contested Dubai Invitational.
The 42-year-old Englishman found himself one shot behind the Northern Irishman going into the final hole of the tournament but McIlroy’s tee shot on the 18th landed into the water, opening the door for Fleetwood to take advantage.
Fleetwood went on to do just that as he calmly sunk a birdie putt on the final hole to end with a four-under 67 and finish on 19 under to win the first DP World Tour event of the year and his seventh career DP World Tour title.
“It was great. I think I was very happy with the way I played today for the large majority of the round,” said Fleetwood to Sky Sports.
It was great watching one the world’s greatest golfers in Rory, the way he was playing the back nine, the way he was attacking the back nine.
“It was just up and down at the end – a sloppy bogey on 16 from not that bad an iron shot and then birdie-birdie on 17 and 18. I played very well, I was hitting it very solid [but] looked looked distinctly average on that back nine compared to the way Rory was playing.
“But I felt very in control of my game. It was just a case of staying patient. I think on 14 Rory – it was unexpected for hom not to just roll that in for another birdie but again you just watched him bounce back on 15 and the shot on 16 and the way he played 17.
“For me, I knew I was playing very well and I played 17 and 18 great.”
McIlroy stated he was happy with his performance but admitted that “sloppy mistakes” cost him the victory.
“For a first week back out it was a really positive week,” said McIlroy.
“I am looking back on today – I had a tee shot in the water on the front nine, had the three putt, then the water ball on the last.
“First week back out, I think you have to expect some of those sloppy mistakes. Unfortunately for me, some of those mistakes came at the wrong time.
“I will reflect on it and learn from today and there is still a lot of good stuff in there, I just need to tidy up some of the edges.”
South African Tristan Lawrence was also in the mix, finishing tied-second with McIlroy on 18 under after he set a clubhouse target of 64.
The next event on the DP World Tour is the Dubai Desert Classic taking place between 18-21 January at Majilis.