Robert Rock holds off Woods and McIlroy to win in Abu Dhabi

Robert Rock, the 117th ranked player in the world, held off reigning U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy, and former world No. 1 Tiger Woods, for his second victory in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Sunday.

The Englishman, would go on to card a final round score of two-under, 70. To defeat McIlroy, Woods, Bjorn Thomas and Graeme McDowell by one.

Despite a shaky ending on the 18th, Rock was able to hold off all comers during the final round in Abu Dhabi.

His drive on the final hole found it's way into a pile of pebbles and rocks; that liter some of the Abu Dhabi Golf Course, near the water hazard. This forced him to take a drop.

Rock kept his composure, though his lead and tournament were on the line. He was able to get on the green in four, then-two putt his way to victory.

“It’s pretty hard to believe that I managed to win today. Very surprised,” Rock said after his round. “I played good. So I guess I had a chance from early on, a couple of birdies made the day feel a little bit easier.”

“But it’s difficult playing with Tiger. You expect almost every shot to threaten to go in. I felt a lot of pressure and couldn’t afford any lapses in concentration at all.”

Woods on the other hand did everything almost the exact opposite he had been, through the first three rounds.

His control that seemed to be there all week, left him during the final round. Woods carded and even par round, to finish one stroke behind Rock.

“I didn’t hit the ball as well as I would like to.” Woods said after his final round.

“Today I was just a touch off. I was righting the ball through the fairways. I was hitting the ball a little bit further than I thought I would. So something to look at, and something to try and figure out.”

He was losing drives into the thick rough and bunkers, that would end up leading to bogeys. Not the scores and shots you need when you are trying to win a tournament on Sundays.

Rock, who won the Italian Open in 2011, said he actually drew from the struggles his fellow competitors were showing.

“I was just focusing on trying to hit fairways and then hit my iron shots as good as I have been and give myself chances at birdies.” Said Rock.

“Both Tiger and Peter struggled on occasions on a few holes and I managed to keep my ball in the right position and didn’t put myself under too much stress until the last, which was a relief.”

A relief, and just something that has to be done coming down the stretch on Sundays.

Rock did what he had to do to keep his mind and game sharp en route to winning his second career European Tour title.


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