What started out as a three shot lead for Stephen Gallacher at The Omega Dubai Desert Classic turned into a struggle on Sunday afternoon at the Emirates Golf Course in Dubai. A furious charge by 36 hole leader Richard Sterne would end when the journeyman 39-year-old Scot made an eagle two at the par 4 16th hole, to top off his second European Tour win. It was a nine year wait for his second victory, but what was an otherwise average round of golf, turned into what he started with, a three shot victory.
You could tell Gallacher had a case of the shakes when he teed off, with bogeys at the first two holes. He rebounded with a birdie at three, but after another bogey, birdie at eight and nine, made the turn at one over par. He would continue with pars down the stretch, until the eagle, to post a final of -1 under 71 on the day, a -22 under par for the week, and a three shot win over Sterne.
Richard Sterne made the turn after making birdies at the second and third holes with a share of the lead. An up and down back nine would seal the South African’s hopes for a sixth career win. He finished alone in second place three strokes down. The 31-year-old from Pretoria shot one over on the back with three birdies, but the four bogeys would derail his effort.
Lee Westwood, making his first start of the year, put on a small charge, shooting 68 in the final round, but it was only good enough for a -6 under total, and a tie for fifth place. His double bogey at the 17th hole on Friday pretty much nixed any chances the world’s No. 8 golfer had for a win in the desert.
Sergio Garcia, who had been playing well until a problem with his shoulder kicked up on Friday. Garcia shot a -1 under 71 Sunday to finish at -11 for the week, in a tie for 17th place.
Jeev Milkha Singh, and Tommy Fleetwood were hanging around the leaderboard for the start of the final round, both shot even pars on Sunday, and fell out of contention. They both dropped six positions, and finished tied for 10th place at -14 under par.
This appeared to be the tournament no one wanted to win. People who had been around the leader board when the round began, seemed to falter, and a few who had been too far back, had good rounds, improving their stats. The European Tour moves out of the desert next week, and back to South Africa for The Joburg Open in Johannesburg which gets underway Thursday morning.
Follow Me on Twitter @Spin_47