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Tommy Fleetwood retains Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship title

23 January, 2018, 01:41 | Author: Carla Brady
  • Northern Ireland's Rory Mc Ilroy reacts on the 1st hole during the third round of the Abu Dhabi Championship golf tournament in Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates Saturday Jan. 20 2018

England's Tommy Fleetwood defended his Abu Dhabi Championship title by finishing on 22-under-par, two shots clear of compatriot Ross Fisher yesterday.

"My game is in really good shape and I saw some really, really positive signs", McIlroy, who has slipped to 11th in the rankings, said.

1 had started the day 2 behind overnight leaders Fisher and Thomas Pieters.

"I feel a lot more emotional than a year ago", he admitted. I dont know why. He won the Race To Dubai and was named number one in Europe a year ago. "It's a odd feeling because you feel quite possessive over your trophy and you don't really want to give it back. To sort of validate your position as the Player of the Year so early on is really satisfying in a way". It's a weird feeling coming to defend a trophy because it's yours and you don't want to give it away.

"He had a great year in 2017, winning the Race to Dubai to finish as European No 1, and to keep that going is so tough to accomplish".

Make no mistake, this performance was mighty impressive. "I've got a lot out of it and I'm excited to get at it next week".

Fisher, 37, made an eagle from 45 feet on the second hole and added two more birdies in his front nine, but a bogey on the par-5 10th stalled his progress. "When putts are going in like they did on 15 and 16 you just think 'could this be my day at again?' The up and down at 18 was one of the best I've ever made".

McIlroy finished four shots behind Fleetwood after a frustrating 70, but he was full of praise for the Englishman afterwards and is looking forward to being his Ryder Cup team-mate in the autumn.

"Last year I had the year of my life and it was important to come out and show I was still hungry and doing the right things", Fleetwood said, after hugging his wife Clare and their baby, Frankie.

I didn't get the ball close enough on the back nine today but apart from that, it's been really good.

Lefty (not the only southpaw to miss Sunday's finale, as Bubba Watson continued his lackluster play from last season with a MC in his first competition of the new campaign) remained upbeat through two rounds in the tournament he has played 15 times and won twice when it was the Bob Hope Classic.

"I would have taken this at the start of the week, I really would", he said after his closing 70.


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