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Antoine Rozner storms to maiden European Tour title in Dubai

Antoine Rozner storms to maiden European Tour title in Dubai

Antoine Rozner claimed his maiden European Tour title with a superb two shot victory at the inaugural Golf in Dubai Championship presented by DP World.

Antonie Rozner

The Frenchman began Saturday's final round four shots adrift of leader Andy Sullivan, who was aiming to go wire to wire in the hunt of his fifth European Tour crown.

Sullivan was still two strokes ahead of France's Mike Lorenzo-Vera as he reached the homeward stretch at Jumeirah Golf Estates - Fire Course, but Rozner got hot around turn to mount his title tilt.

A hat-trick of birdies from the ninth closed the gap to one and Rozner took the outright lead for the first time with an eagle at the 13th.

He and Sullivan jostled for supremacy but a bogey from the Englishman at the 16th proved critical as Rozner held his nerve to finish with a birdie to reach 25 under par and sign for a final round 64.

Rozner becomes the 14th first time winner on the 2020 Race to Dubai on his 24th appearance in a stellar rookie year for the 27-year-old.

"It means a lot. It's been such a strange year, we have been through so much all over the world and to be able to get it done in such nice fashion, eight under, it's amazing," Rozner said.

"I'm going to be very honest with you, the first time I saw I was in the lead was when I was on the 18th green so I didn't really look at the leaderboards.

"I knew the game was there. I didn't know it was that good but I'm excited. I knew I was in the final (DP World Tour Championship, Dubai) already, it's just a good way to finish the season. The biggest tournament of the year.

"I didn't play any Rolex Series events this year so to be able to play such a big tournament will be a big thing for me, so I'm excited."

Sullivan made birdies on the first three days at the opening hole and he completed the clean sweep on Saturday to move to 22 under.

Playing partners Matt Wallace and Renato Paratore followed suit at first but both carded early double bogeys to derail their title chances.

Lorenzo-Vera began his final round with a hat-trick of birdies to climb to 19 under and when he teed up at the seventh, the 35-year-old was in solo second as Paratore slipped down the leaderboard.

Sullivan was three shots clear as he parred the next five holes but Lorenzo-Vera chipped to within four feet and birdied the seventh hole to reach 20 under.

Rozner produced a stunning approach at the same hole for an eagle chance from eight feet but his effort rolled up inches short to sit one behind his fellow Frenchman.

Sullivan could not hole his eagle opportunity at the seventh but tapped in to regain his three shot lead at 23 under as Lorenzo-Vera drained a nervy par putt at the eighth.

The leader's momentum stalled at the eighth when he three putted and carded his third bogey of the week and Lorenzo-Vera produced a stunning bunker shot at the tenth to earn a birdie and cut the deficit to one.

As the leading challenger moved to the 21 under, Sullivan had a birdie putt of his own from seven feet at the ninth and drained the effort to restore his two shot lead.

However, Rozner was getting hot at the turn as he dialled into inside eight feet at the ninth and tenth to climb alongside Lorenzo-Vera at 21 under.

At the next, his tee shot at the par three 11th landed seven feet away and he completed his hat-trick of birdies to sit one adrift of Sullivan.

Lorenzo-Vera picked up a shot at the 13th after a stunning wedge from the rough before Rozner made his move.

The 27-year-old missed the chance to join Sullivan at the summit as he parred the 12th but when he found the par five 13th in two and rolled in the eagle putt, there was a new leader at 24 under.

Sullivan was following up on the same hole and had a tricky 12 foot putt to return to the top alongside Rozner, which he drained.

Sullivan held his nerve with a testing par putt at the 14th to stay at 24 under, which proved crucial as Rozner bogeyed the 15th and relinquished the lead.

Lorenzo-Vera dialled into four feet to card his seventh birdie of the round to sit with his compatriot at 23 under.

Rozner responded with a tap-in birdie at the 16th to return to joint leadership and Lorenzo-Vera stayed in contention with a fine par save at the hole ahead.

There was nearly a two shot swing when Sullivan three putted at the 16th to slip to 23 under, while leader Rozner narrowly missed a birdie chance moments later.

Sullivan slid a birdie putt past the 17th hole from the fringe as Lorenzo-Vera finished with a gain to card a flawless 65 and join him at 23 under.

Rozner was brimming with confidence though and, after finding the fairway with his tee shot at the last, he produced a sensational two iron to 23 feet for eagle.

He could not drain the attempt but tapped in for a closing gain to finish on 25 under par, meaning Sullivan had to eagle to 18th hole to force a play-off.

The Englishman found the first cut with his tee shot to give himself a chance but his second found the greenside bunker and when he failed to hole out, Rozner claimed his first European Tour crown.

Sullivan closed with a par to finish two adrift alongside Lorenzo-Vera, Wallace and Italian Francesco Laporta in a tie for second.

Scotland's Grant Forrest carded a final round 63 to sit in solo sixth at 21 under, with Ross Fisher one shot further back in seventh.

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