- Tommy Fleetwood secured the Dubai Invitational title on Sunday afternoon
- The British star edged past Rory McIlroy who made a mistake on the 18th hole
- Fleetwood was delighted after securing a first event victory of the new year
With the sinking of a 16ft putt at the last, Tommy Fleetwood claimed a dramatic victory at the Dubai Invitational on Sunday. For the other half of the ‘Fleetwood Mac’ pairing that trilled at the Ryder Cup, there was the regret of a tournament lost with one wild drive and a couple of careless putts.
When Rory McIlroy stood on the final tee for his 72nd hole, he held a one-stroke lead at 19-under-par over his English playing partner and great mate.
At that point, he was closing in fast on a win in his first event of the year, but with a big hook he dragged his ball into the water hazard that runs up the 18th at the Dubai Creek Resort. His closing bogey opened a door for Fleetwood, who charged past the Northern Irishman by nailing a long birdie putt and claiming his seventh DP World Tour title by a shot.
‘I’m very happy,’ said Fleetwood, a Dubai resident. ‘It was amazing to win. Like almost everybody else in the world of golf, I don’t win anywhere near as much as I would like to but just that winning feeling is great.
‘This is obviously where I live and have a lot of support. It’s great to kick off the year with a great result and push on from here.
Tommy Fleetwood claimed a dramatic victory at the Dubai Invitational on Sunday
Fleetwood finished ahead of Ryder Cup team-mate Rory McIlroy at the Middle Eastern event
‘I was very happy with the way I played today for the large majority of the round, felt like I didn’t hole some of the putts that I wanted to. I just stayed patient and kept playing. I knew I was playing very, very well.’
So too did McIlroy across a week that he opened with a 62. His closing 67 matched Fleetwood’s but also left room for some remorse – his play from the tee was erratic for good chunks of the round, including an earlier shot shot into water at the sixth, and he also blew the momentum of three straight birdies from the 11th by three-putting from two feet at the 14th.
Fleetwood produced a 16ft putt on the final hole to edge out McIlroy and claim victory
‘I’m really happy for Tommy,’ said McIlroy, who shared second place with South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence.
‘Tommy has played some incredible golf over the last year without actually getting a win.
‘So for him to get the win here, it’s great for him and it will do his confidence a world of good.
‘I think first week back out, you’re going to expect some of those sloppy mistakes and unfortunately for me those mistakes came at the wrong time. I just need to tidy up some of the edges.’