STEPHEN Gallacher birdied two of the last three holes on Sunday to become the first player to successfully defend the Dubai Desert Classic his final score of 16 under-par was good enough to beat the chasing pack.
Argentinean Emiliano Grillo was in second place one shot behind Gallagher.
For his efforts Gallagher walked away with $409 000. Tournament favourite Rory McIlroy endured a torrid final day and could only manage a 74 that left him tied for ninth at the end of the tournament.
Unfortunately for all the players none of them managed to claim the $2,5 million that was on offer for a hole in one on the par-four 17th hole.
Competitive holes ones on par-4’s are exceptionally rare.
There has only been one recorded on the PGA tour which was done by Andrew Magée in 2001.
Magée needed extraordinary luck to achieve the feat, his tee-shot hit the putter of the player who was on the green in the group in front before it went into the hole.
At least the Dubai Desert Classic ended with no major rules incidents. Previous tournaments in the area have been blighted by rules issues.
In 2011 at the Abu Dhabi, Padraig Harrington was disqualified after it was determined through high-definition video that his ball had moved on the green and he had not replaced it.
That incident later helped lead to a rules change.
Starting January 1 of this year, a new rule stipulates that if it takes high-definition or slow-motion video to determine
that a ball moved, there is no penalty.
The rules infringement occurred on the second hole, a few weeks ago McIlroy also suffered a two stroke penalty at the same tournament.
Mcllroy had to take relief when his ball ended up on a gallery path and went on to par the hole, but was later told by the caddy of playing partner Ricardo Gonzalez that he had his left foot on the white line marking the drop area, meaning he had not taken “full relief” according to the rules.
After a review with the tournament referee, McIlroy was penalised two strokes and a third-round score of 68 turned into a 70.
Some of these penalties may seem petty as the player gained no advantage, but as the great American philosopher Cosmo Kramer once declared: “A rule is a rule and without rules, there is chaos.”
Golf has plenty of rules — an entire book filled with definitions and stipulations and exceptions — but at the end of day the rules are important for maintaining a level-playing field.
In America Kevin Stadler won the Phoenix Open for his first PGA Tour title when playing partner Bubba Watson missed a 5-footer for par on the final hole.
Stadler — the 33-year-old son of PGA Tour winner Craig Stadler — closed with a 3-under 68 for a one-stroke victory over Watson. Canadian Graham DeLaet.
Stadler won in his 239th PGA Tour start, earning a spot in the Masters — a tournament his father won in 1982. Kevin’s victory allowed the Stadlers to be the ninth father-son winners on the PGA tour history.