Rock ensures boost for Belfry

Belfry-affiliated Robert Rock held off challenges from the best in the game to seal victory in Abu Dhabi

Tiger Woods and Robert Rock
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Robert Rock recorded the finest victory of his career at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship to cap a fairytale rise to prominence.

The man from Lichfield remained calm and composed under pressure to hold off the challenge of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods.

Rock - who has been affiliated with The Belfry for the past six years - led overnight, birdied three of his first six holes on Sunday and held on, despite pressure from Ryder Cup players Woods, McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Thomas Bjorn.

"I can't believe I've done that today - it's such an amazing feeling", he admitted, adding: "I was very happy to be playing with Tiger Woods today, and that's a special honour in itself.

"I really surprised myself - early on I was very, very nervous, but hit some good shots and started thinking, 'why not?'"

His second professional victory in seven months moves the 34-year to second in the Race to Dubai standings and 55th in the Official World Golf Rankings, securing starts at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and HSBC Champions in the process.

Gary Silock, Director of Golf at the resort, said: "On behalf of everybody the Belfry, we'd like to congratulate Robert on his stunning victory in Abu Dhabi.

"We look forward to congratulating him in person when he next drops in to practice on the Brabazon Course."

Belfry-affiliated professionals have performed well of late, including Tom Whitehouse and his cousin Sam Walker, who held his nerve in the final event of the 2011 Challenge Tour to gain a 2012 European Tour Card.

Nick Bonfield
Nick Bonfield

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, commissioning and feature writing. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel with The Masters and USPGA respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email nick.bonfield@futurenet.com with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x