ABU DHABI, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Rickie Fowler fought off a late charge from Rory McIlroy and Belgium’s Thomas Pieters to win the Abu Dhabi Championship by one stroke on Sunday, the American’s fourth title in eight months.
Fowler’s latest victory will propel the 27-year-old to fourth in the world rankings after topping a strong field that included U.S. Masters champion Jordan Spieth and four-time major winner McIlroy.
Northern Ireland’s McIlroy (68) had been out of sorts, but three late birdies and then a 30-foot eagle on 18 gave him a 14-under aggregate of 274, with Fowler a stroke ahead and two holes to play.
The American (69) responded by birdying from off the green at 17, a rare smile flickering across his lips as he eventually ended on 272, 16 under.
Playing partner Pieters’ 25-foot eagle attempt at the last stopped three inches short, the Belgian’s 67 leaving him a stroke adrift on 273. (Reporting by Matt Smith, editing by Alan Baldwin)