Rory McIlroy tried his best on Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship to get some of that two-shot penalty back that he incurred at the second hole on Saturday, but he came up one short. His final round 68 was good for a second place tie with Phil Mickelson at the desert course in the UAE, but neither could over come the -5 under par 67 carded by Pablo Larrazabal.
For the third time in four years, McIlroy finished in the bridesmaid position at this event. Last year, of course, he missed the cut, and in 2012 incurred another two-shot penalty when he lost to Robert Rock by one stroke. Rory appears to be back on track with his golf game, and I am looking forward to a good 2014 season.
All the accolades on this day need to go to Pablo Larrazabal who hung in there against two great players to log the third victory of his career.
For those of you who may not be familiar with Pablo Larrazabal, he is 30 years old, is from Barcelona, and turned pro in 2004. He is currently ranked 103rd in the world, and yes…being from Barcelona, is a huge soccer(football) fan. After this win, the young Spaniard is ranked 7th in the Race To Dubai.
Pablo Larrazabal won the Open de France Alstom back in 2008, and the BMW International Open in 2011, both on the European Tour.
After a birdie-free round on Thursday, Phil Mickelson got his game together, and finished tied for second place in his first outing of the new season. A triple bogey 7 at the 13th hole would prove to be Lefty’s undoing on Sunday. Mickelson’s short game kept him in the tournament on Thursday, and was responsible for him making the cut.
Starting the season by adding a new driver to his bag, Mickelson was looking for a way to test the new club under fire, and by the end of the week, he was hitting it in the fairway. He improved with the club, and after three rounds of single digit fairways hit, he was able to improve on Sunday by hitting 10 of 14 in regulation.
The big mover on Sunday was Johan Carlsson from Sweden. Carlsson fired a -7 under 65 and moved up 32 places to finish in sole possession of seventh place, and a nice paycheck. George Coetzee from South Africa shot a 66, and carded T4 finish.
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