Friday, 19 March 2010
Abu Dhabi Golf Championship - Final Day  (Getty Images)
Abu Dhabi Golf Championship - Final Day (Getty Images)

Paul Casey survived a late scare to secure the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship by a single shot from Louis Oosthuizen and Martin Kaymer.

The 31 year old Englishman led by six shots at the turn but his form with the putter deserted him on the back nine and the South African’s brilliant 64 left Casey needing to par the last two holes.

Defending champion Kaymer eagled the last for a round of 67 – which would have seen him into a play-off had recently married Casey not held his nerve to two putt from 12 feet on the 18th green, eventually posting a two under par 70 for a tournament total 21 under 267 – the lowest winning score in the history of the event.

Coasting to victory, or so it seemed, when he led by six with only eight holes to play, Casey then bogeyed three of the next four.

However, The Ryder Cup star, whose last win came in the same event at the start of 2007, parred the closing stretch for a 70 and took the €245,122 first prize.

Having slipped from 12th in the World to outside the top 40, the ninth European Tour title of his career takes Casey up to 21st – as well as propelling him into the top ten in The Race to Dubai.

The win also makes Casey the fifth most successful English player in European Tour history – only Nick Faldo, Lee Westwood, Mark James and Howard Clark have won more events.

"That was a bit of a nervous one," admitted the former World Match Play champion.

"I started off great, but it was tricky coming in. The greens were exceptionally difficult to read and there were a couple of camera clicks which put me off.

"It feels very satisfying to get my hands on the trophy again.

"It felt great two years ago to win so early and then I really didn't follow it up with anything.  But it feels very different this time. As you said, a bit of a weight off my shoulders, it feels great.  It feels like a payoff for all of the worrying I've put in, certainly recently, the past couple of months. It shows that marriage is clearly good for me.”

It looked like being a masterclass in how to defend a lead when Casey, four clear after a dazzling third round 63, resumed with back to back birdies and added two more for an outward 32.

Done and dusted, you might have thought, when another came on the long tenth. But he failed to get up and down from the sand at the next, three putted from around six feet on the 13th after an ill timed camera click, and then was twice in rough to drop a further stroke.

He and Kaymer were also being timed for slow play, but Casey kept his composure to underline why Nick Faldo gave him a wild card into The Ryder Cup last September.

Kaymer said: “I had a really good finish with the eagle and that was a nice moment, a little like last year with the spectators around me, so it was pretty cool.”

Oosthuizen was seeking his first European Tour success, but the former world junior champion has won four times in his home country and shot 62 in Hong Kong in November.

He said: “I think today especially was such a great day, not really any wind, and if you holed some putts, you could have shot a low round.  I made some good putts.”

Londoner Anthony Wall was fourth and joint fifth came The Open Championship and US PGA Championship winner Padraig Harrington, Northern Ireland teenager Rory McIlroy and Swede Johan Edfors, while Sergio Garcia's 64 lifted him into a tie for eighth with England's Danny Willett.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1CASEY, PaulENG18-21
T2OOSTHUIZEN, LouisRSA18-20
T2KAYMER, MartinGER18-20
4WALL, AnthonyENG18-18
T5MCILROY, RoryNIR18-17
T5HARRINGTON, PadraigIRL18-17
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