In difficult, blustery conditions, Fleetwood closed with a stunning round of 65 at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club to reach 22 under par and defend his title with a two-stroke victory over Fisher.
Six birdies dotted Fleetwood’s card in a back-nine of 30 that McIlroy was moved to describe as “seriously impressive.” It was a verdict no one was disagreeing with, least of all the man who hit the shots and made the putts that mattered.
“It was pretty good on that back nine,” said Fleetwood with smiling understatement. “Without going over tournaments or rounds in my head, I think that run of holes will definitely be at the top of my list of most memorable play. I actually never felt like I didn’t have a chance, and after I got a bit lucky with the tee shot on the 13th, the rest of the round went perfectly. The putts were going in, and suddenly I was wondering if this could be my day again. And the up-and-down on the last was one of the best I’ve ever made. Happy days.