Pablo Larrazabal is the last man putting at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
The 30-year-old Spanish professional golfer edged out two of the world’s top-10 golfers by 1 shot on Sunday to win the championship with a birdie at the home hole.
Larrazabal, ranked No. 103, claimed his third career European Tour win with a final-round 67 to finish at 14-under par.
He held off fifth-ranked Phil Mickelson and seventh-ranked Rory McIlroy despite birdies from both on the 18th hole at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. An eagle by either would have forced a playoff.
“It means a lot to win my third victory on Tour and playing against who I played today,” said Larrazabal. “Of course, I play against myself but I knew who I also had behind me in Mickelson. I have just beaten two of the three most-talented guys in my era, and in the last era, as well in Phil Mickelson and Rory.”
Larrazabal said standing next to Mickelson and McIlroy to accept his trophy was a surreal experience.
“I was sitting at the presentation ceremony I said to myself: ‘Pablo? What are you doing here?’ I’ve got Rory McIlroy on my left and I am shaking the hand of Phil Mickelson on my right. It’s very special for me,” added Larrazabal after collecting the trophy.
“But it’s been a long journey and a lot of work since my last win in Munich, and only my team and my family know how hard I have worked for this victory with no holidays, and not too many days off this winter, just working hard to arrive here properly and in form to Abu Dhabi. So, yes happy days.”
Larrazabal moved into seventh place in the Race to Dubai and to 12th on the European Ryder Cup Team points table.
He should move inside the top-64 in the rankings when they are adjusted Monday and that will guarantee the Spaniard a first-ever place in next month’s Accenture Match-Play Championship in Arizona.