ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Tommy Fleetwood successfully defended his Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship title on Sunday after a sensational back nine to clinch the win.
The 27-year-old Englishman, who celebrated his birthday on Friday, started the final round two shots behind overnight leaders Ross Fisher and Thomas Pieters, and an indifferent front nine saw him make the turn five shots behind Fisher.
But Fleetwood then birdied the 10th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 16th and 18th holes for a seven-under par 65 round to finish on 22-under 267. He caught up with Fisher on 20-under with a 25-feet birdie putt on the 15th hole, and then powered ahead with a putt twice as long on the next hole.
Fisher, 37, made an eagle from 45 feet on the second hole and added two more birdies in his front nine, but a bogey on the par-5 10th stalled his progress. He later added a birdie on the 16th, but that was not enough to catch Fleetwood and he finished with a 69 for a 20-under finish.
Rory McIlroy (70), making a comeback to tournament golf after nearly 100 days off, was tied third at 18 under alongside Matthew Fitzpatrick (69).
Top-ranked Dustin Johnson shot a final-round 70 to finish on 14 under.
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