What happened at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship?

An emotional Shane Lowry survived a dramatic, matchplay-style final round showdown with Richard Sterne to claim his first title since 2015 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Lowry held a three-shot lead over the South African after 54 holes, but struggled to get going on the front nine.

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Sterne, meanwhile, put up a huge fight and, with just ten putts in the first nine holes, opened up a three-shot lead.

But the closing holes were a different story as the popular Irishman used his vast experience and cool temperament to nail some crucial shots, like this one at 18…

Lowry now occupies the top spot in the fledgling Race to Dubai standings and this could be the start of a huge year for the 31-year-old.

Elsewhere, Joost Luiten showcased his return to form with a closing 65 and Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Louis Oosthuizen all battled their way to very solid top-10 finishes.

But it was Lowry’s performance, capped by THAT opening round 62 on Wednesday, which stole the show.

Bravo, Shane.

Talking Point

For many European Tour stars, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship was their first competitive taste of the new Rules of Golf.

If that wasn’t already obvious, Lee Westwood made it pretty clear while taking his first knee-high drop…

There’s been a huge amount of chat around the changes and whether some are necessary or even good for the game.

We were out in Abu Dhabi to find out what some of the Tour’s best had to say about the alterations.

But if knee high drops and whether flagsticks are in or out weren’t controversial enough, Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño used one of the rules changes to fire a broadside at Simon Dyson on Twitter – bringing up the Englishman’s controversial spike mark repairing incident from almost six years ago.

Inevitably, this tweet was the talk of the golfing world and it quickly became a full on row. Every inch of the fracas is covered in this week’s edition of The Slam.

All of this, and it’s only the first European Tour event of 2019. Oh, what a year it’s going to be!

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