In a tournament in which he could do no wrong, Stephen Gallacher of Scotland aced a timely eagle two on the par-4 16th hole and comfortably won the $2.5 million Omega Dubai Desert Classic in the end by three shots.
On a tough day with the winds at the Majlis course of Emirates Golf Club, Gallacher battled it out gamely against South Africa’s Richard Sterne before the magic second shot with a sand wedge from 115 yard changed the course of the game.
Being Gallacher’s fifth eagle of the tournament paved a way for him to close with a one-under par 71 round.
That gave him a four-day tally of 22-under par 266, matching the all-time lowest winning total in the history of the tournament (Thomas Bjorn in 2001).
The victory was only the second European Tour win for the 38-year-old Scotsman. His last win came way back in October 2004 when he triumphed the Dunhill Links Championship.
“I knew it was going to be a difficult day given the gusty wind and I knew I just had to stay patient throughout. Anything could have happened out there if you caught a bit of wind,” said Gallacher, who is expected to rise to No.60 in the world from his present ranking of 111.
Sterne (71) had a back nine wobble and was second at 19-under par 269, while Chile’s Felipe Aguilar (69) and Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen (71) were tied third at 17-under par 271.
“I didn’t realize it is 201 tournaments since my last win, but now that I have got it, it is even sweeter,” he added.
The win is almost certain to qualify Gallacher for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, and put him in a good position to get into the top-50 of the world and a first start at the Masters in April.
England’s Robert Rock, winner of last year’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, showed glimpses of his old form when he shot a 68 and moved into a tie for seventh place at 15-under par along with Portugal’s Ricardo Santos and England’s Steve Webster.