As the European Tour staged its first Rolex Series event of the season, there was a familiar face finishing the week with the trophy in his hands

Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship report: What happened at Abu Dhabi GC?

Lee Westwood got 2020 off to the perfect start as he returned to action in Abu Dhabi and won his first Rolex Series event.

The European Tour veteran put on a masterclass for the spectators and finished two shots ahead of Matthew Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood and Victor Perez on 19-under.

A final round of 66 completed the job for the Englishman who shot in the 60s each day and dropped just four shots all week.

His Sunday performance was measured and methodical with the only blemish coming at the 16th. Despite being hunted down by a world-class field he used his considerable winning experience to stay one step ahead.

Standing on the 18th tee Westwood knew a par would be good enough for the victory and after finding the centre of the fairway he then found the centre of the green with his second. A three-putt or better would seal the win but from there he only needed two.

The 46-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable career and was one of just 10 players to spend the entirety of the 2010s inside the world’s top 100.

His latest victory marks his 25th European Tour success and sees him win a professional title in a fourth consecutive decade.

Ryder Cup qualification could now be a real possibility for Westwood as he will jump up the standings thanks to the rewards of winning a Rolex Series event.

Fleetwood and Perez both made considerable moves on Sunday to share second with Fitzpatrick. The pair recorded final rounds of 63 and this marked Perez’s lowest round on the European Tour.

The Frenchman picked up where he left off before Christmas in terms of form and went bogey-free on the closing day. He carded seven birdies and finished the job off in prolific fashion with an eagle at the last.

He got off to a strong start in Ryder Cup qualification towards the end of last year and this helps his cause once more and the same can be said for Fleetwood.

Turning 29 on Sunday, the Englishman went out in 30 with six birdies in his opening  nine holes. He then added three consecutive birdies from 15 through 17 but wasn’t able to take advantage of the par-5 last.

Fitzpatrick, who finished runner-up four times last season, shared second with Perez and Fleetwood with a 67.

With four birdies on the front nine Fitzpatrick was well in contention but the birdies dried up on the back and he would not shave another shot off his score until the 72nd hole.