Lowry completes wire-to-wire victory at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Shane Lowry held off a relentless Richard Sterne to complete a sensational wire-to-wire victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA and secure a maiden Rolex Series title for the  Irishman in the first tournament of 2019.

The 31 year old started the day with a three-shot lead over South African Sterne but surrendered the advantage after carding four bogeys in his opening 10 holes while Sterne superbly made the turn in 31 to take the lead from the 2015 WGC Bridgestone Invitational champion.

With four shots to make up and only seven holes to play, Lowry, carded back-to-back birdies on 12 and 13 before Sterne dropped shots on 14 and 16, leaving the pair level on 17 under par walking up the 18th.

Lowry, who became the first player in European Tour history to make 11 birdie twos in a tournament, expertly made the green in two before holeing his birdie putt to seal his fourth European Tour win after Sterne had narrowly missed his birdie chance.

“It’s great to have a Rolex Series beside my name now, I get the gold bib and get the star there,” said Lowry, who moves to the summit of the Race to Dubai with the triumph.

“You know, I think, we’re very lucky to be able to play such big events on The European Tour and Rolex have done a great job. All the players, I can vouch for them and say we’re very grateful to be playing for the types of money we are in the events we’re playing in. So yeah, I’m just over the moon to have won.”

Meanwhile, Joost Luiten finished third, three behind Lowry after a highly impressive final round of seven under par 65 and the Dutchman was delighted to be back competing after an injury-hit 2018.

“It’s great to be back at the right end of a tournament,” said Luiten. “I had a tough time at the end of last year with an injury, so it’s good to be back playing again and great to start off the season with a top-three finish. I’m just happy with the way I’m playing. I feel happy on the golf course and that’s a good thing, I guess.”

2018 South African Open winner Louis Oosthuizen carded 66 to secure fourth place on 14 under par while Soren Kjeldsen finished one further back to complete the top five.



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