LOWRY BACK IN THE TOP 50
European Tour - Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Presented by EGA
Shane Lowry kicked off 2019 with a wonderful wire-to-wire victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA after coming out on top in a thrilling final-round battle with Richard Sterne.
Lowry enters back into the World’s Top 50 at number 41. He last featured here in week 3 of 2017 exactly two years ago with a career best of World Number 17, that was back in 2015.
The Irishman closed his final-round 71 with a crucial birdie to win by a single shot and secure his fourth European Tour title.
Lowry entered the day with a commanding three-shot lead but found himself four strokes behind Sterne after carding four bogeys and two birdies in his first 11 holes.
The 31 year old rallied, though, firing back-to-back birdies at the 12th and 13th and after Sterne dropped a couple of shots coming down the stretch, Lowry made another gain at the 18th to get to 18 under par and clinch his first trophy since the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Dutchman Joost Luiten was alone in third on 15 under after producing two eagles in his final-round 65.
Lowry began the final round in pole position after posting rounds of 62, 70 and 67 on the opening three days.
Sterne got off to a lightning-quick start, though, making birdies at the first three holes to join Lowry at the top of the leaderboard.
Lowry regained the outright lead after sending his tee-shot to within three feet of the cup at the short fourth before tapping in for a birdie to get to 18 under.
But there was a two-shot swing at the fifth as Sterne chipped in from just off the green for a birdie and Lowry missed his par putt to hand a one-shot advantage to his opponent.
Sterne was not in front for long, though, as he three-putted on the sixth green to drop his first shot of the day and Lowry made his par putt to remain at 17 under.
Asian and Japan Golf Tour - SMBC Singapore Open
Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond found his winning rhythm when he closed with a six-under-par 65 to take home the SMBC Singapore Open trophy for his third Asian Tour title and also seal his passage to The Open on Sunday.
The Thai player enters the top 100 of the World Ranking for the first time at number 74, a career best.
The 23-year-old arrived in Singapore on the back of a rich vein of form to establish himself as one of the genuine contenders for the prestigious SMBC Singapore Open trophy at the start of the week.
He did not disappoint as he shrugged off the challenges of a host of quality players including Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey and Davis Love III to become the third Thai after Thaworn Wiratchant (2001) and Prayad Marksaeng (2017) to lift his third Asian Tour title with a winning total of 18-under-par 266.
Casey surmounted a strong challenge by signing for a 65 but it was never going to be enough to catch Jazz, who was unstoppable on the Sunday afternoon at the Sentosa Golf Club.
The Englishman had to settle for a share of second place with overnight leader, Yoshinori Fujimoto of Japan.
England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick, who was making his debut at the SMBC Singapore Open, closed with a 69 to take outright fourth place while Thailand’s Promm Meesawat and Korea’s Doyeob Mun share not only fifth place but will also make their way together to Royal Portrush in July.
The 2019 SMBC Singapore Open was part of The Open Qualifying Series for the third consecutive year where the leading four players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top-12 and ties on the final leaderboard will earn coveted spots at the 148th Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland from July 18-21.
PGA Tour- Desert Classic
Adam Long made a 14-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday to win the Desert Classic for his first PGA TOUR title and moves from World Number 417 to 133, a career best.
Making his sixth career start on TOUR, Long closed with a 7-under 65 on the Stadium Course at PGA West to beat playing partners Phil Mickelson and Adam Hadwin by a stroke.
"I got a pretty good read off Phil's putt," Long said. "It was one of those putts that you just stand over you just know you're going to make. And you can't control that, but when you have that feeling it's a good one. I'm in pretty disbelief right now. I don't really know what happened."
Mickelson, the leader after each of the first three rounds, fought putting problems in a 69. His 40-foot birdie try on 18 curled left at the end.
"I had a terrible putting day -- one of the worst I can recall in a while," Mickelson said. "Started right on the first hole with a little 4-footer uphill and three-putting that green. And I missed a bunch of short ones on the front and some birdie opportunities, but it felt awful with the putter. I hit a lot of good shots today, but just couldn't get the ball to go in the hole."
Long set up with the winning putt with a 6-iron shot from 175 yards with the ball below his feet in dormant grass on a mound to the right of the fairway. The 31-year-old former Duke player earned his PGA TOUR card with a 13th-place finish last year on the Web.com Tour's regular-season money list.
"In some ways it's been a little bit of a roller-coaster, but it's been a steady improvement throughout my career," Long said. " I've played in pretty much most tours around the world that there are and just kind of steadily progressed. It kind of can seem like it came out of nowhere, but my game's been trending in the right direction for really the last two years now."
Hadwin shot 67, losing a three-stroke lead on the back nine.
Web.Com - The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay
Almost a year-and-a-half after his first Web.com Tour win, Zecheng “Marty” Dou took home another title in style by draining a 55-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to erase any doubt. The putt gave Dou a two-stroke win in the first event of the year at 18-under at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.
“It feels great to win the first event,” said Dou. “I’ve won before at the end of the season, which feels similar, but being out here and winning in a different way … In that one (at the KC Golf Classic), I was leading the whole time. In this one, I was leading and then struggled a bit and had to come back from behind at the end.”
During a perfect weather day in the final round, Dou tallied five total birdies – including the final three holes – to reach 27-under for the tournament (edging Steve LeBrun for the most over the four days).
“I had dinner with Boo Weekley last night, and he was talking about the differences in this course compared to a lot that we play,” said Dou. “I really like it out here because you can’t take everything with driver. It’s pretty tight and a little shorter, but the wind picks up really easily. We have to think about it a lot more than other courses.”
Since graduating from the Web.com Tour in 2017, Dou admitted to losing an edge mentally on the PGA TOUR last year.
“Since junior events, I’ve always been at the top of the leaderboard and got a lot of offers from college,” said Dou. “All of this confidence felt like even if I didn’t practice, I could still be a good player. From being back on PGA TOUR Series-China and winning the Order of Merit and getting my card in my first year on the Web.com Tour, I thought I was good. After losing my (PGA TOUR) card, I lost myself. I got to the point where I wondered if golf was for me anymore.”
Pro Golf Tour- Red Sea Egyptian Classic
German Hinrich Arkenau defeated Dutchman Robbie van West with a birdie on the first extra playoff hole to win the Red Sea Egyptian Classic.
Both players tied on 7 under par after 36 holes but a successful putt from Arkenau secured his fifth trophy on the Pro Golf Tour.
Also, Arkenau celebrated an albatross, the first of his professional career, on hole 8, a 475 metre Par 5. He hit his 4 Iron from 192 metres, and it rolled directly into the cup.
The tournament was cut down to two rounds due to a sandstorm on day 2.