Golf: Tommy Fleetwood sizzles in Abu Dhabi Championship defence

Tommy Fleetwood plays a shot during the final round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on Jan 21, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

ABU DHABI (AFP) - England's Tommy Fleetwood successfully defended his title at the US$3 million (S$3.9 million) Abu Dhabi Championship on Sunday (Jan 21), shooting a seven-under par 65 final round to beat compatriot Ross Fisher by two shots.

The 27-year-old Southport resident made the turn at one-under par, but was on fire on the back nine.

He made six birdies, including one on the closing 18th hole, to edge out Fisher.

The back-nine heroics of Fleetwood, ranked 18th in the world and expected to rise to No. 10 when the new list is released on Monday, included making a 25-ft putt for birdie on the 15th hole to tie for the lead with Fisher, and then a 50-ft birdie putt to take the outright lead on the 16th hole.

Fisher (69) started the day in impressive fashion with an eagle on the second hole, courtesy a 45-ft putt, and was four under at the turn.

But on the back nine, he made a bogey on the 10th and a solitary birdie on the 16th hole to finish on 20-under par.

Last year, Fleetwood beat the reigning world No. 1 Dustin Johnson by one shot, kick-starting a successful season that culminated in him winning the European Tour's Race to Dubai.

Johnson (70) finished on 14-under par this year, while former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy shot a 70 to tie for third place at 18-under par alongside Matthew Fitzpatrick (69).

Overnight joint leader Thomas Pieters (72) and winner of last week's South African Open, England's Chris Paisley (69) were tied fifth at 17-under 271.

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