For a while on Sunday morning, it looked like no-one wanted to win the 25th edition of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. After making the turn at four over par, defending champ, Stephen Gallacher redeemed himself down the stretch for the win. He becomes the first player in history to win back-to-back in the desert.
Stephen Gallacher played his first two rounds at The Emirates Golf Course in the U.A.E. with Tiger Woods, and Rory McIlroy. In the featured group, all eyes were on the Tiger and Rory, and the 39 year-old Scot just went about his business. He began the final round with a one-shot lead, and a bad case of leftitis. He would drop two strokes on the first two holes, and was down three by the sixth hole.
It appeared that after the -9 under par 28 that he shot on Saturday, the “Golf God” was going to make him pay. He was able to right the ship, and went bogey-free down the stretch for the win.
The catalyst on the day, was Qatar Masters runner-up, Mikko Ilonen. The youngster from Finland went out early, and shot a nice -8 under par 64, and posted a target for everyone to play for. It looked for a while that the score might stand up, and at least be good for a playoff.
Frenchman, Romain Wattel was able to birdie the 17th and 18th holes to post a -14 under par lead, but it would only last two groups until Emilano Grillo made an eagle at 18, and post fifteen under. It became a do-or-die for Gallacher, who stepped up and won this tournament.
Rory McIlroy spent the day trying to make a putt. He didn’t play poorly, but when putts aren’t dropping, and you need birdies, it puts more pressure on the rest of your game. After setting the first-round pace, Rory said he had some stomach problems due to some questionable food, and never looked like the machine we saw on Thursday.
Rory finished with a two over par 74, and tied for 9th place. McIlroy made his first birdie of the day at the 11th hole, and promptly gave two back at 12 and 13. He got into trouble on the par five 13th by getting in the waste area where fans walk, and took two to get out. He pulled his third shot left and his day was over for all practical purposes.
Tiger Woods was playing the 17th hole by the time the leaders teed off, and was probably on a jet heading home before the tournament was over, Tiger managed a one under par 71 in his final round, and finished in a tie for 41st place. Tiger continues to play out of trouble due to erratic tee shots.
Woods indicated his swing is work-in-progress,and was happy with his performance in the desert. He will not play in the WGC-Accenture Match Play this year, and we will probably not see the world’s number one until the Florida Swing. He will be defending at The WGC-Cadillac Championship.
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