In what was billed as a race to the finish for two of the best players in the world, it instead was Pablo Larrazabal, world No. 103, who won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Sunday.
Larrazabal birdied the final hole to pull ahead of Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson and capture his third career European Tour title.
Larrazabal (67) finished at 14-under 274, one shot clear of McIlroy (68) and Mickelson (69). Craig Lee, the 54-hole leader, shot 77 in the final round and plummeted to joint 10th.
Mickelson’s chance for victory was doomed on the par-4 13th hole, where his tee shot landed in some bushes. He didn’t have a stance and decided to take a right-handed swipe, but he double-hit the ball and eventually made a 7.
Mickelson’s three birdies in his last five holes weren’t enough to force a playoff.
McIlroy wasn’t quite as sharp on the greens on the final day, and he was left to rue what could have been after the two-shot penalty following his third round.