On the final day of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship (opens in new tab), fans were treated to an intriguing conclusion which involved a number of players in touching distance of a Rolex Series (opens in new tab) title.
Throughout the back nine, Frenchman, Victor Perez, had led by the slimmest of margins, with the 30-year-old vying for his first title since May 2022. It had been an extremely close affair throughout at Yas Links and, at the 17th hole, a 200-yard par 3, Perez produced arguably the best shot of his life, as he holed a lengthy bunker shot for birdie en route to a third DP World Tour title.
Beginning the final day, Shane Lowry (opens in new tab), Francesco Molinari and Min Woo Lee started tied on 13 under. However, as the day wore on, it was Perez who found the front, as the Frenchman carded six birdies on his first 11 holes.
A bogey did follow at 14, but Perez made yet another birdie to keep his slim advantage intact over Lee and new challenger Sebastian Soderberg. With the tension building, and players firing shots all over the course, it was up to Perez to bring home his advantage.
Firing his tee shot into the bunker at the par 3 17th, it seemed that a dropped shot was imminent, especially as he was faced with a shot that went downhill and needed to carry a big dip. However, what happened next was deserving of any champion.
Nipping his bunker shot past the flag, it checked up beautifully before spinning back and into the hole for an unlikely birdie! The celebration? Well, that didn’t disappoint either, as the six-foot-five giant clenched his fists and chest bumped his caddie. Later on, Perez described it as the “greatest shot I’ve ever hit.”
Two shots clear of Soderberg, a par at the last would all but seal another title but, with the adrenaline flowing, Perez (opens in new tab) found trouble with his second shot and was forced to chip out of the fescue next to the water.
Thankfully, for Perez, Soderberg failed to find the green from 85-yards at the last and, after the Swede made his par, it was left to Frenchman Perez to tap in for a bogey.
It wasn’t done there though as, playing the last, Lee would need an eagle to force a playoff. Greenside in two on the par 5 18th, a pitch in was needed for the crucial eagle and, as it raced by, we all thought it was game over. However, Lee’s ball began rolling back towards the hole and, as it edged closer and closer, it finished mere inches away from dropping. As a result,…