Martin Kaymer gained and then lost the final round lead of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, eventually carding 3-under-par 33-36=69 as he had to settle for T3 on 15-under 273.
The German's curious relationship with the Abu Dhabi GC continues. He's a three-time champion, but is perhaps best known for blowing a 10-shot mid-final round lead two years ago, since when he is yet to lift another trophy. He was again in possession of the lead after eight holes this Sunday, after he followed an early birdie at No. 2 with a hat-trick of them from the 6th, the first of which came courtesy of an enormous 45'0" putt. It went swiftly wrong, however. He made bogeys at 9 and 10, and then at 13 he executed a superb chip from thick rough only to miss the 3'0" par putt. He made eagle at the last, but his race had been run before then; he had teed off on the hole three behind winner Tommy Fleetwood. Another scar? Or a reminder that he's very close to winning again?
Kiradech Aphibarnrat led for much of the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, but ultimately could withstand the charge of eventual winner Tommy Fleetwood; the Thai finished T4 on 15-under-par 273.
The World No. 86 opened his final lap of 3-under 33-36=69 with back-to-back birdies which left him clear of the field and he remained in the top two until late in the day, thanks to another birdie at the 8th and a field that was struggling to go really low. His only error came with bogey-4 at the 12th, but he responded with an approach to 5'0" at 13 and calm conversion. He drained a par putt from the same distance at 14 to maintain his bid, whilst at 15 he needed a wonderful scramble after short-siding himself at the final par-three of the week. Mid-range birdie tries at 16 and 17 threatened the hole but refused to drop, doubly frustrating as playing partner Tommy Fleetwood edged ahead, and Aphibarnrat made a final hole par when trying to force the eagle he needed to put pressure on the eventual winner. A strong performance and another sign that his work with new coach Pete Cowan is heading in the right direction.
Bernd Wiesberger caressed a typically neat round of 4-under-par 35-33=68 to finish T4 in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on 15-under 273, two behind the winner Tommy Fleetwood.
The Austrian is little short of a machine on the regular European Tour; this result is his seventh finish of T7 or better on the bounce and his second top six performance at the Abu Dhabi GC. As if to highlight his relentless nature it was also his second consecutive bogey-free 68 of the weekend. After opening the final lap with seven straight pars he made his move around the turn, circling 8, 10 and 11. In truth he was always a little adrift of the lead, but he did have chances late on. At 16 his 8-iron approach came up short, but left a makeable putt; it grazed the hole. At the next an 8'0" birdie putt slipped by. Chasing a final hole eagle he found a greenside trap, but got up and down for birdie.
Dustin Johnson closed out his week with a stunning eagle to confirm a final round 4-under-par 35-33=68, a total for the week of 16-under 272, and a share of second alongside Pablo Larrazabl, one behind the winner of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Tommy Fleetwood.
Johnson completed a seventh top 20 finish in regular European Tour events, but the win continues to elude him, stymied this time by an opening round of level-par 72. After the drama of his Saturday 64 he was becalmed for a long period on Sunday, posting 11 pars in the opening 12 holes, only making ground on the leaders when ticking the 8th. When he finally made the move it was courtesy of aggressive driving and scintillating short irons. At 13 a wedge approach to 3'0" was converted and he repeated the trick at the 16th. Unfortunately, in between, he short-sided himself at the par-three 15th and couldn't save par. It meant that he needed double-eagle up the last to force a play-off. He failed, but did drop an eagle from 15'0" to remind everyone of how easy he can make the game appear.
Pablo Larrazabal's silky short game skills gained him a tie for second alongside Dustin Johnson in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, as he carded a wild final round 4-under-par 35-33=68 for a 72-hole total of 16-under 272, one shy of the winner Tommy Fleetwood.
The Spaniard, winner of the tournament in 2014, came mighty close to lifting the trophy for a second time despite tossing bogeys and birdies right across his card. He dropped shots at 3, 6 and 11 early on, but gained them at 4, 8, 9 and 10. On the 12th he drained a 35'0" birdie, one of ten par-three birdies he made all week. At 13 his sand skills saved par, at 14 he chipped in for birdie, at 15 he finally couldn't find the magic from off the green and made bogey. Refusing to be beat, he circled 17 from 25'0", but pushing for the eagle he needed at the last to force a play-off he came up short with birdie. He may have lost out on the title, yet he leaves with his reputation added to; he was strong in contention.
Bill Haas' bogey-free 4-under-par 32-36=68 was the low round on the Stadium Course in Saturday's third-round action at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Adam Hadwin (59) was the low at La Quinta CC while Webb Simpson (66) had the low lap on the Nicklaus Tournament Course.
After opening in 68-72-68, two-time champ Haas is T32 on 8-under, nine adrift of 54-hole leader Hadwin. He birdied his first four holes in R3, beginning with a pitch-in 3 at the first (47 feet from the target) and chasing with three conventional from inside of 16 feet. That would be it for the World No. 42, wrapping up with 14 straight pars on 9 (of 14) fairways, 14 greens in regulation, and -0.067 SG: Putting.
Tommy Fleetwood confirmed victory in the 2017 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a sensational approach to the 72nd hole; his 17-under-par 271 left him one shot clear of Dustin Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal after he carded a final round 5-under 36-31=67.
The Englishman claimed his second European Tour win on his 162nd start, coming after an ever-improving run since early August which has seen him go 13-for-13 with ten top 25 finishes; the trophy tops it all very nicely. On the front nine the result had looked unlikely, however, as he made a bogey at the 3rd and waited until the 8th to get it back. But he made a superb move early in the back nine, chipping in for eagle-3 at the 10th and draining another par breaker from 8'0" at 11. That sent him to the top of the leaderboard. He pressed home with a 6'0" birdie at 16 and, after pulling his drive at the last, he blasted that magnificent 3-wood from the first cut onto the green and two-putted for birdie. It was a classy win, during which his long-term quality ball-striking was finally backed up with solid putting; it also confounded his previous form at the Abu Dhabi GC, where he was 1-for-5. "Didn't see it coming here," he laughed afterwards.
Playing La Quinta Country Club, Robert Garrigus styled a 6-under-par 33-33=66 in the third round of the CareerBuilder Challenge to post 13-under 203, up 13 spots to T8, four adrift of 54-hole leader Adam Hadwin, who shot 59.
The World No. 229 opened his ninth appearance in 68-69 to begin the third round on 7-under (T21). He camouflaged a lone bogey-4 at 12 with seven birdies, including four straight on Nos. 8-11. The 39-year-old, runner-up here in 2012, found just seven (of 14) fairways but hit 14 greens in regulation, posting 1.643 putts per GIR. His one TOUR victory in 282 career starts came at the now-defunct Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in 2010.