Jamie Donaldson Wins Wild Weekend In Abu Dhabi

By Les Bailey
Jamie Donaldson
Mitchell Gunn-US Presswire

Jamie Donaldson fired a final round 68 on Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in Abu Dhabi, and was the first player from Wales to get a Falcon Trophy for his fireplace. Donaldson stumbled a bit at the 18th hole with his only bogey of the day, but held on for a one shot victory over Justin Rose, and Thorbjorn Olesen from Denmark.

The 37 year old Donaldson picked up his second career European Tour victory, and vaulted into second place in Race To Dubai points. He also increased his world rankings to 29th which should earn him a trip to Augusta in April. Donaldson has played well for a while now, picking up a T-9 at the DP World Championship, Dubai in November, and a T-6 at the Portuguese Masters in October.

Justin Rose led all three rounds, and looked to be on his way to a win in the desert, but after a one under 71 on Sunday, would again have to settle for a second place finish one stroke back. The 33 year old Brit moved up to fourth place in World Rankings, and is 7th in Race to Dubai points.

Thorbjorn Olesen had a real shot at winning this tournament, but a double bogey at the 469 yard par four 6th hole de-railed his round, and he would have to settle for a three under 69, and a second place tie with Rose.

The low round of the day came from Branden Grace. Grace fired a seven under par 65 in the final round with a birdie run on the back nine where he birdied the last four holes. It was too little too late, Grace ended up alone in fifth place at 10 under par. Unfortunately, his opening round 71, and a poor performance on Saturday when he shot a one over 73 that ended his hopes of a win in the desert.

American, Jason Dufner had another fine finish, shooting a four under 68, to end his tournament in a tie with seven golfers at eight under par in ninth place. Dufner seems to struggle with jet lag on these long trips, and if he wants to continue to play a world wide schedule, he is going to have to overcome this problem. He is scheduled to remain in Africa for the Qatar Masters next week.

Robert Rock, the defending champion at Abu Dhabi who beat Tiger Woods head to head, and Rory McIlroy last year, shot a four over par 76 on the first day, and withdrew from the tournament. Woods and McIlroy both missed the cut this year.

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