Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA
Abu Dhabi GC, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 16 Jan 2019 - 19 Jan 2019
Saturday, 19 January 2019
Joost Luiten  (Getty Images)
Joost Luiten (Getty Images)

Joost Luiten was delighted to make a strong start to 2019 after missing a large chunk of last season due to injury.

Luiten was unable to play a single event between the BMW PGA Championship in May and October's Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation because of a wrist injury.

But he returned in time to record top-30 finishes at the Turkish Airlines Open, Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player and DP World Tour Championship, Dubai before representing the Netherlands in the 2018 ISPS Handa Melbourne World Cup of Golf.

And he hit the ground running in his first event of the 2019 Race to Dubai season, firing two eagles in his closing 65 to finish third at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA.

Luiten's 15-under-par total saw him finish just three shots behind champion Shane Lowry.

After Saturday's final round, Luiten said: "It's great. I had a tough time at the end of last year with an injury, so it's good to be back playing again and great to start off the season with a top three.

"I'm just happy with the way I'm playing. I feel happy on the golf course and that's a good thing.

"I just need to keep doing what I'm doing now. The swing feels comfortable and I'm hitting some great iron shots, and I just need to keep doing that. 

"If I keep giving myself birdie chances, I'll make a couple."

Holing out a 6-iron from the desert was a big bonus - Joost Luiten

Luiten began the day nine shots behind overnight leader Lowry but soon set about closing the gap, finishing his front nine by holing out for a spectacular eagle at the ninth after making one birdie and one bogey in his opening eight holes.

The 33 year old then made back-to-back birdies at the tenth and 11th before picking up another at the short 15th to jump up the leaderboard.

And he finished his round with another eagle at the long 18th to set a testing clubhouse target.

Speaking about his eagles, Luiten said: "The one on 18, you could see some eagles there, but the one on nine I made, holing out a 6-iron from the desert, from the sand, was a big bonus."

A Rolex Series Event

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LOWRY, ShaneIRL18-18
2STERNE, RichardRSA18-17
3LUITEN, JoostNED18-15
5KJELDSEN, SørenDEN18-13
T6WARING, PaulENG18-12

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