Victor Dubuisson holds nerve in final-day Turkey shoot

 

The Montgomerie Maxx Royal, Antalya

As expected the challengers gave it a crack on championship Sunday but in the end a five-shot advantage was too big for Victor Dubuisson to blow. The Frenchman survived a thrilling push from Jamie Donaldson, whose 63 included a hole-in-one at the 16th, and a 65 from Justin Rose, to claim his maiden European Tour victory at the Turkish Airlines Open.

With three to play the 23-year-old looked to be caving in after Donaldson and Rose had made up eight strokes to share the lead. Donaldson's ace was the fifth of his career and earned a million miles on Turkish Airlines' reward scheme, plus his own plane, albeit of the miniature variety.

A birdie at the last took Donaldson to 22 under par and into play-off territory, only for Dubuisson to gather himself with a birdie-birdie finish to end the day two strokes clear. "It feels so great. It is hard to realise that I have won such a great tournament. I'm very proud of what I did, the toughest golf day of my life. Tiger Woods and Justin Rose were in contention so it's a dream come true.

"I was very nervous on the first. I was fighting myself. On 17 I made the kind of putt you need to make to win big events, 10 metres. I didn't like the putt. I really pulled it but it went in. Maybe it was a sign that I was going to win."

Second spot rockets Donaldson, who won in Abu Dhabi at the start of the year, into fifth place in the Race to Dubai with an outside shot at glory at the DP World Championship this week. His hole-in-one, the third in the past 18 months, was the highlight. "It's mad, weird when it goes in. You hit it right down the flag and you are hoping it's going to be close and it lands and vanishes. It's like, where's it gone?"

A poor tee shot at the last took Rose out of the equation and a three-putt flicked him back to third alongside Woods. Though he was disappointed with the finish, the result took Rose to second in the European list, with the deficit to Henrik Stenson shrinking to €200,000 (£167,000). "Slight sour taste at the last," Rose said, "but in the bigger picture I played my way into contention and gained a little bit of ground for next week."

Woods hardly featured at all, then blazed into the foreground – as he does so often– with four birdies over the closing six holes to finish on 20 under par. "Overall it was pretty good," Woods said of his week. "I'm very happy with the progress I've made [this year], won on some venues that were very tough. A couple of years ago some of you guys were saying I could never win again. Got eight wins since then, so it's been great."

 

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