Dubai: Omega Dubai Desert Classic runner-up Richard Sterne of South Africa praised Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher for his game-changing eagle on 16.
Sterne, who came into the final day three strokes behind, had gone level with Gallacher at 20-under par by the third hole and remained in contention by the 14th despite a wobble early on in the back nine.
However, while Sterne dropped two strokes, only to recover one by the 17th, Gallacher had already made an eagle on 16 to take him four shots clear.
Sterne said: “When everything swung around on 16, I was one shot behind and then, by 17, I was four shots behind. That kind of took the wind out of my sails, really.
“All credit to Stevie; he made some good pars and birdies. He hit good shots at the right time and that’s what you’ve got to do when you need to win.”
Of the eagle, Gallacher’s fifth of the week, Sterne said: “It’s tough to beat a guy when he’s doing stuff like that. I gave it as good a run as I could. I’m not too disappointed. It’s just I would have liked to have won, but this is how it is.
“I played really well on the front nine. I really thought that if I continued with that, I was going to definitely pull it off. But I made a couple of silly bogeys on the back nine, which happens in golf. I’ve just got to accept it and move on to the next week now.”
The South African, who has had five European Tour victories since turning professional in 2001, his last being the 2008 South African Open Championship, continued: “It’s frustrating to come so close and not do it. If you’d asked me at the beginning of the week, second place is obviously pretty good, but when you’re leading a tournament or tied for the lead, one shot here or there [could have made the difference], and I’m disappointed.”