Garrick Porteous
Garrick Porteous celebrates with the trophy in Al Ain Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai-based Garrick Porteous went toe-to-toe with five-time DP World Tour winner Alex Levy on a thrilling final day at the Abu Dhabi Challenge, before emerging victorious after making his seventh birdie of the day on the 72nd hole to clinch a one-stroke triumph.

Porteous, who moved to Dubai last September, came into the final round tied for the lead with both Levy and Wilco Nienaber, but found himself two shots adrift of the former following the Frenchman’s five-birdie front nine at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club.

But Porteous responded with a birdie barrage of his own, carding four of them coming home to reach 24 under par and secure a first Challenge Tour triumph in almost seven years, with Levy settling for second after bogeys on the 12th and 15th hampered his charge.

“It feels amazing (to be champion)” said Porteous, who is a member at Trump International Golf Club Dubai.

“I’ve loved every minute of it and Al Ain has been a great host venue. I obviously moved here recently, so to win, on what I guess is now home soil, is great.

“I’m used to the heat, grass type and speed of the greens out here now, so that massively helped in situations this week.”

While Levy will no doubt be frustrated with not being able to get over the line, the runner-up finish marks his third consecutive top ten on the 2024 Road to Mallorca schedule.

“I played really well today,” said Levy, who is looking for an immediate return to the DP World Tour after losing his playing rights last season.

“I had the chance, but it was not my day today. The game is looking good, that’s the most important thing."

Nicolai Kristensen finished two shots behind Porteous to secure third spot, while joint 54-hole lead, Nienaber, endured a torrid final round, signing for a five over 75 to tumble down the leaderboard to 38th.

On what was another low scoring day in the Garden City, Euan Walker tied Nienaber’s course record after posting a sublime 10 under par 60, which saw him surge to tied fourth on the leaderboard.

“I feel absolutely amazing,” said Walker.

“I did everything well today. I think I drove every fairway and putted exceptionally well, even holing some long ones from off the green, which is a bit of a bonus.

“As the round went on, I hit some nice approaches and converted every opportunity I had.”

The UAE’s No.1 professional golfer, Joshua Grenville-Wood, finished in a share of 55th after a second 70 of the week saw him end the tournament on seven under par.

“Not just a tough final round, a tough final three rounds!” said Grenville-Wood, who had opened with a 64 in the first round, before signing for a 69 and two 70s.

“Just couldn’t get anything going out there, struggled on the greens the last two days. It’s a shame really as I’ve hit the ball quite well this weekend, just couldn’t take advantage of it.”

Focus now turns to next week’s UAE Challenge at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, where the stars of the future will go up against a host of DP World Tour winners and homegrown players, thanks to the Emirates Golf Federation’s (EGF) long-term partnership with the European Tour group.

The EGF has received 30 invitations into the event, which have gone to several UAE National Team players as well as local professionals and amateurs, to help create playing opportunities and provide a pathway for UAE golfers.

The action gets underway at the Gary Player-designed track on April 25.