Rickie Fowler, in his 50th appearance in a European Tour event, won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Sunday, his second tour title after the 2015 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. He held off the promising young Belgian, Thomas Pieters, by a stroke, and finished two ahead of Europeans Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy. In all, four of the world’s six leading players finished in the top five. Fowler shot 16-under 272 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club for his sixth worldwide victory.
Who didn’t win
Pieters, who turns 24 on Wednesday and nearly holed a 25-foot putt for an eagle on the 18th that would have made things more difficult for Fowler; McIlroy, who looked to be close to his best form and eagled the 72nd hole to put pressure on Fowler; Stenson, who has not fully recovered from surgery on his right knee at the beginning of December and birdied three of his last four holes to get to 14 under; and Jordan Spieth, the world No. 1, who realistically lost any chance of victory with a lacklustre round of 73 on Friday. His other rounds were all 68s. Spieth settled for finishing tied fifth, on 11-under par, on his first visit to the Middle East.