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Dublin: 12°C Monday 14 June 2021

Frustrated McIlroy misses out by one shot after final hole drama in Abu Dhabi

Spain’s Pablo Larrazábal birdied the last to claim the crown.

Rory McIlroy was left to count the cost of yesterday's two-stroke penalty.
Rory McIlroy was left to count the cost of yesterday's two-stroke penalty.
Image: Kamran Jebreili/AP/Press Association Images

RORY MCILROY HAD to settle for a share of second place at the $2.7 million Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship after yesterday’s two-stroke penalty ultimately cost the former world number one the title.

McIlroy, who started the day on -9 as a result of an incorrect drop on the second hole of his third round – a rule he described as “stupid” — birdied three of the first eight holes to put himself in contention as overnight leader Craig Lee endured a nightmare final round, shooting a five over par 77.

However, his playing partner Pablo Larrazábal matched him almost score for score; a birdie on the 13th one of three on the back nine that helped the Spaniard to a one shot win.

An incredible chip from McIlroy to within one foot on the final hole briefly gave the 24-year old a share of the lead on -13 but Larrazábal held his nerve over a knee-knocking four foot putt to move to -14.

That left Open champion Phil Mickelon needing an eagle on the last to take the event to a playoff but the American had to settle for a birdie and a share of second place with McIlroy.

The Northern Irish golfer was clearly still fuming about yesterday’s penalty though, telling Sky Sports after today’s round that he believes he should be the tournament winner:

“”I feel like I’m standing here and I should be 15-under par for the tournament and win by one. But that’s the way it goes.

“I played the least shots of anyone this week. So, I mean, I can count it as a moral victory more than anything else.

“It’s frustrating. I’ve played well the whole week. It’s a very positive start to the season so I’m not going to let one little negative ruin that.”

The win is just the third of Larrazábal’s career on the European tour and his first since June 2011.

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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