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Lowry endures Sterne test to win Abu Dhabi Championship

Lowry endures Sterne test to win Abu Dhabi Championship
Golf - The 147th Open Championship - Carnoustie, Britain - July 18, 2018 Republic of Ireland's Shane Lowry in action during the practice round REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff   -   Copyright  JASON CAIRNDUFF(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Shane Lowry claimed his first European Tour title since 2015 by winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Saturday, finishing one shot ahead of South Africa’s Richard Sterne in a thrilling final round battle.

Overnight leader Lowry was pushed to the limit by Sterne but sank a crucial birdie on the final hole to close with a round of 71 that took him to 18-under par 270 for the tournament.

“It was an emotional rollercoaster today,” Irishman Lowry, who sealed a wire-to-wire win, said.

“I obviously went out with the lead by a few and before I knew it I was four behind. I was brave out there today. I ground it out well and I’m over the moon.

“I’m so excited with this win. I can’t really tell you how good it feels to be standing here.”

Chasing a fourth European Tour win, the 31-year-old Irishman got off to a poor start with three bogeys on the front nine to trail his nearest rival Sterne by four shots by the 11th hole.

However, he recovered ground with birdies on the 12th and 13th to capitalise on Sterne’s blip in form, before his final birdie on the 18th helped him clinch his first title since the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational four years ago.

Sterne was pleased with his effort, although his wait for a seventh title on the Tour continues.

“I’m just glad that I gave a good performance this week with a strong field,” he said. “It’s been a while since I’ve had a decent tournament so I’m pretty happy with the way I performed.”

Dutchman Joost Luiten was third on 15-under while Louis Oosthuizen was one shot and one place below him. World number two Brooks Koepka tied for ninth alongside Englishman Tom Lewis.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Ken Ferris)

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