ABU DHABI: Welshman Jamie Donaldson bagged the Falcon trophy after winning the eight edition of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, which concluded at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club’s National Golf Course on Sunday evening.
A co-leader with Briton Justin Rose on Thursday evening, Donaldson, the current world number 47, remained in contention throughout the weekend after carding rounds of 70 and 69. Playing in the day’s penultimate pairing, two birdies on the front nine and a spirited run of three birdies down the back, including 14 and 15, secured the Welshman’s biggest career win and a cheque for $450,000.
Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority presented the Falcon trophy to Donaldson in the presence of Simon Cooper, deputy chairman and CEO of HSBC Middle East and North Africa.
Thirty-seven-year-old Donaldson shot 68 for an overall 274 to beat Rose and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen to second place by a shot.
He became the first Welshman to win the Abu Dhabi event and it comes in his seventh appearance here. It was also his second consecutive European Tour season victory, following the 2012 Irish Open.
The Welshman went two clear with five birdies in his first 17 holes, but three-putted the par five last and bogeyed.
That left overnight leader Rose and Olesen in the final group needing a birdie at the 18th to force a play-off, but Olesen’s 15 foot effort slid by before Rose lipped out from eight feet.
“I’m very happy to be stood here holding the trophy,” said Donaldson after receiving the Falcon trophy.
Against a field that had earlier in the week included world top two Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods — both missed the halfway cut — and defending champions Robert Rock, pulling out due to illness, the Welshman emerged a surprise winner.