What happened at the Dubai Desert Classic?

Bryson DeChambeau claimed his fourth victory in nine starts and once again showed the golfing world just how impressive his game is.

Unlike the final-round duel between Haotong Li and Rory McIlroy, of 12 months ago, the American’s win was slightly more predictable coming down the stretch.

Final Leaderboard

Having started his round with three consecutive birdies, the world number five built on his one shot overnight lead and continued with no dropped shots to the turn.

A stunning eagle on the 10th, followed by a birdie at the 11th created a six shot gap between DeChambeau and the chasing pack, which included the likes of Sergio Garcia and defending champion Li.

Aside from a slight wobble at the 12th, the rest of his back nine was the perfect example of how to win a golf event.

Elsewhere, Ernie Els rolled back the years and narrowly missed out on claiming his 300th career top-10 finish.

Matt Wallace made a classy birdie at the last to leapfrog the group at 16-under-par and seal a solo second finish.

And Ian Poulter continued his good form with a final round 64 to take a share of third along with a whole host of other stars.

Amongst those tied for third was Englishman Paul Waring, for whom a share of second came so, so close…

Talking Points

In all the fuss over flagsticks and knee-high drops, we were waiting for someone to fall really foul of the changes to the new rules of golf that came in at the start of the year and it was the defending champion, Haotong Li, that came a cropper.

Li was hit with a two shot penalty after being found in breach of a ruling that stops caddies from helping players with their alignment.

He was lining up a short putt for birdie on the final hole with caddie Mike Burrow standing behind him.

The new ruling – it’s 10.2b (4) for anyone who wants to take a look – states that “when a player begins taking a stance for the stroke and until the stroke is made: the player’s caddie must not deliberately stand in a location on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball for any reason”.

Rule 10.3b (3) also says a caddie cannot “deliberately stand on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the player’s ball when the player begins taking a stance for the stroke and until the stroke is made”.

A harsh decision? You decide but Tour officials ruled Li in breach and his birdie four was altered to a bogey six. That dropped him from a tie for third into a tie for 12th and cost him around £75,000.

A Tour statement read: “Li Haotong’s caddie was on a direct line behind the ball when he began to take his stance on the 18th green. The player’s caddie must not stand behind the player for any reason when a player begins taking a stance.

“Haotong could have avoided the penalty if he had backed off the stroke and retaken his stance. He did not, hence a two-stroke penalty applied to his score on 18.”

Another point to note…

As has been the case for a few years at the Dubai Desert Classic, the players and fans were willing to get behind ‘Pink Friday’.

The event organisers urged those at the tournament to wear pink on the second day to raise awareness for Breast Cancer.

Once again, there was a fantastic response and many of the world’s best, along with spectators, did their bit for a wonderful cause.