Larrazabal edges Mickelson and McIlroy in Abu Dhabi

Pablo Larrazabal (Courtesy: TourProGolfClubs.com)

Pablo Larrazabal (Courtesy: TourProGolfClubs.com)

Pablo Larrazabal made a birdie on the last hole at Abu Dhabi GC to edge Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy to win the 2014 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

What Happened

Larrazabal entered the day three shots back of the lead held by Craig Lee, and he did what he needed to do early with birdies on two of his first four holes. He would bogey the fifth, but another birdie on the front made had him going out in 2-under par. McIlroy and Mickelson were also 2-under on the front, while Lee wasn’t as fortunate, going out in 2-over par and a double bogey on the 11th pretty much took him out of the running.

Mickelson had the lead after a birdie on the 10th, but gave it away on the 13th after incurring a penalty for double hitting his ball, leading to a triple bogey seven. Three birdies in the last five holes gave Mickelson a chance, but Larrazabal made a five footer for birdie on the 18th to give himself a one-shot win over Mickelson and McIlroy.

01.19.14 larrazabal final putt 01.19.14 larrazabal reax

Final Leaderboard

  • 1. Pablo Larrazabal -14
  • T2. Phil Mickelson -13
  • T2. Rory McIlroy -13
  • T4. Rafael Cabrera-Bello -12
  • T4. George Coetzee -12

What The Win Means For Larrazabal

It’s the first win for Larrazabal since the 2011 BMW International Open, and as it stands right now, he’ll move into the top 55 of the Official World Golf Rankings, giving him his first entry into the WGC-Accenture Match Play. Larrazabal is a good European Tour player, and even though he won, the focus will definitely go towards Mickelson and McIlroy, who without penalties, would have won the tournament. That’s not fair to him, but that’ll likely be the end result.

Still though, I’m sure that he doesn’t care so much about that at this point, as getting his first win in nearly three years is a very big deal for him.

Garcia/McIlroy/Mickelson penalties

I’ve already covered Garcia and McIlroy in recent days, but what happened to Mickelson was really just a matter of him hitting the ball twice, so no controversy there.

01.19.14 phil double hit

For McIlroy, you can’t blame him for thinking that he should have won here this week. After the round, he gave this quote to reporters, courtesy the Associated Press:

”I can’t describe how frustrating it is and feeling like I should be standing here at 15-under par for the tournament and winning by one,” McIlroy said. ”It is a very positive start to the season so I’m not to let one little negative ruin that. It wasn’t until I finished one behind on the 18th that it started to dawn on me if what happened yesterday had not happened, I would have won.

”But Pablo played well, and I can’t take anything away from him. When he needed to, he hit the shots, and the two shots he hit into 18 were straight out of the drawer, so fair play to him. It’s good to see. He’s a good guy, one of my closer friends out here and good to see him get the win.”

Rory looked great all week though, so I’m thinking that we can officially say that his “poor” season in 2013 is behind him.

rory comp

Other Notes

  • Other notable finishes: Joost Luiten (6th), Thomas Bjorn, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Peter Hanson (T10), Sergio Garcia (T19), Matteo Manassero (T31), Luke Donald (T37), Branden Grace (T52) and Thorbjorn Olesen (T56).
  • Notables to miss the cut: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Padraig Harrington, Peter Uihlein and Henrik Stenson.
  • It’s the first missed cut for Stenson since the Wells Fargo last year, a streak of 20 consecutive events.
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