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Rafael Cabrera-Bello of Spain fired a final round of 68 to win the Omega Dubai Desert Classic by a single stroke from England's Lee Westwood and Stephen Gallacher of Scotland.
Beginning the final round one stroke adrift of Westwood, the Spaniard who led the tournament after a first round of 63, produced a faultless final round to outplay a world-class field.
With three holes to play, Cabrera-Bello, Gallacher and Westwood were tied atop the leaderboard on 17-under-par. It was the Spaniard who broke the deadlock with an excellent birdie on the par-4 17th.
Playing behind Cabrera-Bello, both Westwood and Gallacher gave themselves a chance to match the Spaniard's birdie on the 17th, but neither managed to take advantage.
Cabrera-Bello then completed the final hole with a par five and posted a clubhouse total of 18-under-par. That meant the two Brits needed birdie on the home hole to force a playoff.
Gallacher found the left rough from the tee and was forced to lay-up with his second. Westwood hit a monster drive and could reach the green in two with an iron. But he pulled his second shot and it ended in the semi-rough to the left of the putting surface.
The Scot then fired in a solid approach to leave a 15-foot birdie putt. Westwood played a clumsy chip from the side of the green that ran some 25 feet beyond the cup. Neither man was able to hole out for four so the title went to Cabrera-Bello. It was his second European Tour victory and the win will likely secure him a place in the WGC Accenture Match Play championship in two weeks time.
"It has been an unbelievable week for me," said Cabrera-Bello. "I haven't had a chance to think about all these things yet but hopefully this will open the door for me and allow me to play in some big events against the very best players."
Omega Dubai Desert Classic Emirates Golf Club, Dubai Feb 9-12, purse €1,920,000 par 72
1 Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 63 69 70 68 270 €315,531 T2 Stephen Gallacher (Sco) 69 65 68 69 271 €164,436 T2 Lee Westwood (Eng) 69 65 67 70 271 €164,436 4 Marcel Siem (Ger) 65 69 68 71 273 €94,661 T5 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 68 69 70 67 274 €62,665 T5 George Coetzee (RSA) 69 66 69 70 274 €62,665 T5 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 66 65 72 71 274 €62,665 T5 Scott Jamieson (Sco) 65 68 70 71 274 €62,665 T9 Thomas Bjorn (Den) 66 65 73 71 275 €38,369 T9 Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 66 72 67 70 275 €38,369 T9 Joel Sjoholm (Swe) 71 66 66 72 275 €38,369
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and it was concentrated by his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?
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