Andy Sullivan and Rafa Cabrera-Bello may have both lost out to Danny Willett in dramatic circumstances at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, but both men were excited for the season ahead after a Sunday showdown in the desert.
The trio had been battling it out at the top end of the leaderboard all day at Emirates Golf Club and when Sullivan and Cabrera-Bello both made birdies on the last, they left Willett with 15 feet down the slope to take the title.
The Race to Dubai runner-up duly delivered with a virtual carbon copy of Sullivan's putt to get to 19 under and claim the glory by a single stroke.
Sullivan had held the lead early on the final day but Willett twice stretched his advantage to three shots before the dramatic finish, and Sullivan did not feel he put his fellow Englishman under enough pressure.
"Fair play to Dan, holing that putt, that was a tough putt," he said.
"I didn't feel like I put him under enough pressure through the midpoint of the round. I had a lot of chances and didn't quite take them. The putts towards the end kept me in it, par saves.
When you hole that putt on the last, you feel you've given yourself a sneaky chance. But Dan is a quality player and you expect him to step up, and he did - Andy Sullivan
He added: "It bodes well for the rest of the year. I had the lead in Abu Dhabi after 36 holes and put myself in a really good position for the finish today.
"If I just keep putting myself in that position, eventually I'll get over the line."
For 2012 champion Cabrera-Bello, it was a second consecutive runner-up finish and secured him three top 15s over the Desert Swing to start his season.
"I'm playing really well," he said. "Abu Dhabi was good, Qatar was good, this week has also been great. It's an ideal start.
"Overall I'm very happy. Finishing second again, it's a great position. It's been a fantastic tournament. I played really well and I'm proud of myself. I'm obviously disappointed I didn't get to win, but I know that playing like this, it's around the corner.
"I knew the back nine was going to be very important. Getting off to a strong start would have been ideal, but that didn't happen, so I just stayed patient. I fought back all day long and played aggressively.
"I knew that coming down the stretch I could make some birdies and that's what I did. I tried my best and Danny was one shot better today."
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