Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Danny Willett Wins.

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Danny Willett wins the Omega Dubai Desert Classic  at Emirates Golf Club.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Danny Willett / Getty Images

Danny won the  Omega Dubai Desert Classic with a last round -3 under par 69, and a tournament total of -19 under par.

Danny was over the moon with this hard fought one shot win, and a much needed birdie at the last. This result could put him in the top 15 of the World Rankings;

“I’m ecstatic, you can’t buy that feeling, coming down the back nine, the last three holes, in contention in a golf tournament.”

It’s something that you can’t pay for in life. You’ve got to earn it.”

“Coming down the last with all the situations that were going on. It’s just nice to know that I can dig deep there and produce.”

“You’d love to win by five or six every time you win, but when you win in that fashion, it does feel that little bit extra special.”

“It’s a relatively daunting last hole. I needed to make a four to win. So I’m just delighted with how I dug deep and found it.”

Sharing second place were Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Andy Sullivan, with -18 under par totals . Andy with a final round -4 under 68 and Rafa -3 under 69. This the second time in succession that Rafa has placed second, he will surely win soon.

Andy acknowledged Danny making that last putt to win, after he had just made his birdie putt to catch him;

“Fair play to Dan, holing that putt, that was a tough putt.”

“When you hole that putt on the last, you feel you’ve given yourself a sneaky chance. But Dan is a quality player and you expect him to step up, and he did.”

Rafa was satisfied with being second again, but the win would have been nice;

“Finishing second again, it’s a great position. It’s been a fantastic tournament.” 

“I played really well and I’m proud of myself.”

“I’m obviously disappointed I didn’t get to win, but I know that playing like this, it’s around the corner.”

Byeong-hun An and 2011 champion Alvaro Quiros both finished with rounds of -7 under par 65, for -16 under totals, to be three behind the winner, and T4.

Rory McIlroy joined them at -16 under also carding one of the low rounds of the day at -7 under par 65, he finally came to life eventually finishing T6 with Henrik Stenson.

Rory admitted he made too many mistakes;

“It’s sort of a week of what could have been, there was a lot of really good golf in there.

“I played a lot of great shots and made a lot of birdies, but just made a few too many mistakes.”

Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Danny Willett On Top.

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Danny Willett is on top of the  Omega Dubai Desert Classic leaderboard after 54 holes at Emirates Golf Club.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Danny Willett / Getty Images

Danny moved to the top of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic leaderboard with a brilliant bogey free-7 under par third round 65, to give him a one shot lead with a -16 under par total.

Danny spoke about his great round, being under control, and his mental approach;

“It was good, I played great golf today.”

“I played really well yesterday and kept the foot down and could have been a couple better today. I’m delighted. I kept the ball under fantastic control with some crosswinds and did everything right really.”

“I had couple of hiccups in there today where it could have been a little different but I kept the head on and kept moving forward.”

“I think mentally, I feel like I’m very much in control of myself, which obviously helps. And swing-wise, I’ve got a few things that I’m trying to do.”

“I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible and let the mind be a little bit calmer, and it seems to be working so far.”

“It’s a great golf event. I think the atmosphere around this golf course is fantastic, second to none. There are little gathering areas around tee boxes and greens, and we get a lot of support.”

Rafa Cabrera-Bello is the man in second place, at -15 under par, just one shot adrift. A third consecutive round of -5 under par 67 keeping him firmly in touch of the leader.

Third place belongs to Andy Sullivan, and at -14 under par for the tournament is definitely in contention. He stayed within sight of the top with a bogey free -6 under 66 today, in fact he has not recorded a bogey since his first hole on day one, which was a double at the tenth.

Rory McIlroy had a -4 under par 68 today, which doubled his total to -8 under par, and he now has little hope of winning this tournament.

 

Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Rafa Has The 36 Hole Lead.

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Rafa Cabrera-Bello has the 36 hole lead at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Rafa Cabrera-Bello / Getty Images

Rafa had another -5 under par 67 today to take the lead in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at -10 under par, and has a one shot lead going into the weekend.

The 2012 Champion tied for second place at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters last week, and said he is in good form, especially in the putting department;

“My game really is very good at the moment, I’m confident I’m doing all parts of the game well.”

“Today it was just a couple sloppy swings that maybe affected my confidence a little bit, but I know the game is really sharp.”

“I’m just enjoying golf at the moment. I worked hard over the break and I’m happy to be here competing again and ready.”

“Having won here before is a bonus. If it gets to the point of the last few holes on Sunday that I have a chance to win, I know I’ve done it before, so I can do it again, especially here.”

“I’ve always loved these greens. I’ve putted really well here before, especially 2012.”

“So I’m putting well, I putted really well today. I putted really well yesterday, even though I hardly holed anything yesterday, but still putted well. And today, they wanted to drop.”

Sharing second place at -9 under par is three-time champion Ernie Els with Danny Willett and Trevor Fisher Jnr.

Danny recorded brilliant bogey free second round -7 under par 65, which really rocketed him up the leaderboard.

At -8 under are Joost LuitenThorbjørn Olesen, Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood who are all proven winners.

Rory McIlroy had a very quiet day, but avoided total disaster posting a second round of even par 72, and had to make three birdies on the last three holes to achieve that score.

At -4 under for the tournament he is now six shots off the pace at the half-way sage, with a lot of work to do if he is going to make a challenge for the title.

 Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Alex Noren Leads.

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Alex Noren leads the Omega Dubai Desert Classic after the fist round at  the Emirates Golf Club.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Alex Noren / Getty Images

Alex shot a first round -6 under par 66 to take an unexpected lead in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic;

“I hit a lot of good shots but a few bad shots and got away with it, and then you end up with 66.”

“I’m very happy, I didn’t really expect it and then it feels even better.”

“I was very happy when it was all over because it didn’t feel that good warming up. I hit my irons really good all day, pretty average driving.”

“It was tough on a few holes, a lot of draws here and I don’t like to draw it. So I’m really happy.”

“I hit a lot of fades off the tee, and here you know it’s a drawer’s course. So you feel a bit down as a fader.”

“But you just have to accept it and maybe play less aggressive on some holes.”

Four players are sharing second place, just one stroke back at -5 under par,  Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Brett Rumford, Trevor Fisher Jnr and Peter Hanson all carded opening rounds of 67.

There is then a large group of eight players at -4 under par, including Rory McIlroy, a two-time winner here and also the defending champion. Three-time champion Ernie Els and 2011 winner Alvaro Quiros are also in this group with their opening rounds of 68.

Rory was pretty happy with today’s result, it was a bad bogey start on #10;

“I thought I did well, considering the start, and some of the shots I hit today.”

“A 68 was probably a fair reflection of how I played.”

“I don’t think I really could have gone any lower than that.”

“But at the same time I gave myself enough chances to make birdies.”

 

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Rickie Fowler Wins

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Rickie Fowler wins the weather interrupted Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club in United Arab Emirates.

 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

Rickie Fowler / Getty Images

Rickie won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship with a final round -3 under par 69 for a tournament total of -16 under par.

Rickie was very satisfied to start his season with a win, confirming his winning ways of last season were just the beginning of an upward progression, and moves him up to fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking;

“This was a big one. Last year having a multiple-win season, to come back and work on getting back in the winner’s circle after a successful season and keep moving forward.”

“This is a great start.”

“It’s great field that HSBC has put together here. The course is in perfect shape.”

“It was a lot of fun today. It was a bit stressful at times.”

“Thomas is playing well. It’s fun to kind of go head-to-head with him being in the same group. We had a good time.”

“It’s nice to come out on top this week.”

“I’d like to jump in and be a part of that crew and see if we can continue to win some Majors if I can jump in there.”

“The goal right now with where my game’s at, the best it’s been this early in the season in my career, I’m working on getting ready for Augusta. And I’d like to have my shot at getting the Green Jacket there.”

“The ultimate goal this year is to go win a Major and this is a step in the right direction for sure.”

Second place went to Thomas Pieters, he carded a last round -5 under par 67 to post -15 under for the tournament.

Tied in third position were Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson, both two shots off the pace at -14 under par. Rory had a last round -4 under 68 while Henrik carded -5 under 67.

World number one Jordan Spieth finished in the group five shots back at -11 under par, while Ian Poulter could do nothing in the final round, going round at even par 72 for T14 at -9 under par.

 

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Five Tied at the Top.

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There are five players tied at the top of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship leaderboard after a dramatic day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, including another delay, of 2 hours 50 minutes. The delay meant that the third round could not be completed, and the players will have to return tomorrow to finish 54 holes, and then start the final round.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory McIlroyBranden Grace, Rickie Fowler, Joost Luiten and Ian Poulter were tied at the top of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, all at -10 under par, but they all have yet to complete 54 holes.

Rory carded -2 after 9 holes, Branden has completed 16 holes for -6 under, Rickie -4 on 11, Joost -3 on 10 and Poults -5 under after 13 holes. With a further five players on -9 under tomorrow will also be a very dramatic day, when only the fittest will survive.

Poults is relishing this finish, saying it is more like match-play, a format he enjoys, he was a winner at last weeks EurAsia Cup;

“It’s match play, whenever you go head-to-head you get the juices going, and that’s obviously nice as the first tournament of the year.”

 “I think it’s done me some good, and I think I’m looking forward to what the challenge is for the next 20, 26 holes.”

The -9 under group have yet to complete their third rounds, they are Andy Sullivan, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Henrik Stenson and Robert Rock.

Rory summed it all up nicely;

“This one is a bit more bunched. I think there will be a few more in contention.”

In all, 16 players are within three strokes of the lead, and that includes Jordan Spieth and  American amateur Bryson DeChambeau.

Jordan has finished his 54 holes, carding -4 under par 68 and is in a group at -7 under for the competition, while Bryson slipped up today returning a completed third round score of +1 over par, also at -7 under.

Jordan spoke about his troubles this week, including poor putting;

“I started out this tournament not driving the ball particularly well the first 12, 13 holes and since then my driver has been on.”

“I can make excuses all I want; I still haven’t made many putts and there’s no excuses for that. It can all come together tomorrow.”

“It’s happened many times in random rounds. Why not the fourth round here?”

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. McIlroy in the Mix.

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Rory McIlroy has put himself firmly in the mix as the second round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship finally ends.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Andy Sullivan holds on to the number one slot at -10 under par, but Rory put in a great finish to the round carding 3-3 for the last two holes, birdie-Eagle, to get to -8 under par for the tournament, he shares second place with American amateur Bryson DeChambeau.

Rory came close to an Albatross, but was very happy to settle for an Eagle on the last;

“I said, let’s finish three-three and I was able to. I don’t know if I should say that to myself on the first tee, okay, let’s have 18 threes here.”

“I knew I needed something and I knew I wanted to finish well and I knew 18 was a chance and 17 playing downwind, I would have a wedge in there.”

“So I knew I had a couple of good chances. But I didn’t quite expect to do it on 18 there. That was a nice way to finish.”

“I’ve been close before but never had an albatross. Looked pretty close from back there. I’m not sure how close it did come to going in but just happy to finish with an eagle like that and get myself up the leaderboard and stay within touching distance of the leaders.”

“Average round to be fair but that’s the thing, even when you’re not really at your best, to be able to come away with a 70 and still keep with it up of the leaders, I’m really happy with that.”

The World Number One Jordan Spieth is still in a slump, returning a second round +1 over par 73 for a -3 under par total, which was good enough to make the cut. Do you think that the brush with officialdom has knocked him out of his stride?