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Westwood’s Dubai Desert Classic hopes fade in water

Englishman finishes tied for fifth at UAE golf event

Gulf News

Dubai: Having started the last day of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic nine shots off the lead, former World No. 1 Lee Westwood got to within three strokes of the lead by the 14th hole, before hitting a water hazard at the last.

Ending with a bogey on 15 before a birdie-bogey combination at the end to card 68, Westwood had to make do with finishing 16-under par, six shots off the winning score. He finished tied for fifth with Australia’s Marcus Fraser.

The 39-year-old Englishman, who has been denied success three times previously at this event in 2012, 2010 and 1999, came out with three birdies and a bogey on the front nine to take him to 14-under par, at that stage six shots off joint leaders Stephen Gallacher and Richard Sterne.

Moving into the back nine, he fired two sets of birdies either side of a bogey on 12, taking him to second on the leaderboard at 17-under, raising the hopes of many fans of a late charge.

But it never materialised, as the Englishman bogeyed 15 and hit the water on 18 with his second approach shot, either side of a slight reprieve having birdied 17. Westwood said: “I felt like I had momentum all day.

“Fifteen was definitely a wrong club selection, five yards past the flag when I was trying to land ten yards short. I was a club out.

“Then I came short at 16 to par. A birdie there coming up the last and that would have been 19-under par [after the birdie on 17] and I would have been in with a sniff [of success], but then you play the shot and it’s a bit different.”

On 17-under par heading into the 18th with the prospect of an eagle to level him with Sterne at 19-under, while hoping that 20-under par Gallacher would wilt, Westwood hit the water.

Westwood said: “I then felt I needed an eagle on the last to at least have a chance. But I tried out a three wood in there [on the second approach shot] and I didn’t quite flush it how I’d like. It fell three yards short [into the water].”

This left Westwood with a penalty, after which he took a further two shots to make the hole for bogey.