Westwood defies age to win Abu Dhabi Golf C’ship title - GulfToday

Westwood defies age to win Abu Dhabi Golf C’ship title


Lee Westwood celebrates with the trophy after winning the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship on Sunday.

Lee Westwood defied the age and shot a stunning round of 67 (-5) to claim the 15th edition of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship by two strokes, taking his tally of European Tour victories to 25 on Sunday.

The Briton exuded a remarkable composure to maintain his overnight lead and lift the trophy with five birdies and a bogey on his card.

It was his first victory on the European Tour since winning the 2018 Nedbank Golf Challenge as he became the fourth Englishman to lift the iconic Falcon Trophy.

Commenting on his memorable win, Westwood said: “I’m ecstatic. It’s been a good week. During the round I wasn’t really paying attention to what anyone else was doing.

“I was trying to control me, my emotions and my golf swing. I managed to do that well despite a slip-up at 16.

“I’m really pleased with how well I controlled myself all week. It’s nice to come out and keep proving that have you still got it.”

English compatriot, Tommy Fleetwood, charged up the leaderboard on the final day to finish tied-second with a sensational bogey-free round of 63 (-9) to equal the lowest round of the day alongside Victor Perez. Fleetwood has enjoyed enormous success in the Abu Dhabi Championship having claimed back-back victories in 2017 and 2018 and will be pleased with another strong performance in the desert.

 Reviewing his week, Fleetwood commented: “It was a really good day. I felt that I got gradually better and better throughout the week. I struggled on Thursday but had a good practice session and then played well on Friday in tough conditions.

“I played so well yesterday but hit some ropey drives and missed a few putts. Today, I just went out and played great. It’s been a really enjoyable week.”

Frenchman, Victor Perez, also carded a remarkable 63 (-9) to finish one place short in his efforts to capture a second European Tour title, despite a magic eagle on the par five 18th. Matt Fitzpatrick, the third Englishman in the top four, put in another impressive performance on the big stage to post a 67 (-5) and send a strong message to Padraig Harrington that he belongs on the Ryder Cup team once more.

Discussing his round, Perez stated: “It was one of those days where you get into the flow of things and play well. Obviously, I felt like I needed to have a good round and I’m pleased I did that today.”

Matt Fitzpatrick added: “I feel good about today’s round. Apart from one missed putt I wouldn’t take a shot back and that’s a great feeling. It wasn’t enough to win but it was a strong week.”

At the prize giving, Westwood humbly received his first Falcon Trophy from Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and was also awarded a unique, traditional Arabic bisht. Highly coveted in the region, the bisht is a fine coat that slips over the Kandoora. Designed with beautiful golden embroidery and two strings as a closure, the bisht is a chic garment that is usually worn at major events.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, said: “Our wise leadership team is keen on supporting and developing the sports sector in this country. It is one of the most important sectors and an essential component in every developed country.

 Every year, and for 15 successive years, this distinct championship has ended with significant outcomes in all respects. To see fans and visitors from all around the world gathering here in Abu Dhabi reflects the UAE’s message and approach to tolerance, and the true genuine values, customs and traditions of the UAE people.

Congratulations to Lee Westwood and I extend my appreciation to all the sponsors and organisers for pulling such a great event.”

ref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, stated: “I would like to congratulate Lee Westwood on his victory in the 15th edition of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA. This year’s attendance has exceeded all expectations, which came as the result of the amazing media and marketing campaign that was launched for this Championship, which has contributed to the attraction of golf fans from all over the world. I would also like to thank the media for all their efforts covering the tournament.

 This event is only the start of a series of international sporting occasions that will bring more World Champions to the Abu Dhabi, which falls in line with Abu Dhabi Sports Council’s commitment, and the approach adopted by the capital to be at the forefront of the global sports scene.

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