Rory McIlroy emerged victorious after a tense tussle with Patrick Reed in the last round of the Dubai Desert Classic.
The world number one birdied the final two holes to shoot a four-under 68 and finish on 19 under to win by one shot.
Northern Irishman McIlroy had led the field by three shots overnight but Reed picked up six shots in his first 11 holes to wipe out that advantage.
McIlroy responded with three birdies and, after the American birdied 18 to draw level, holed a 20-footer to win.
Heavy rain caused sufficient delays to force play into a fifth day in Dubai. And the ending could not have been better scripted for the DP World Tour with McIlroy holding off LIV Golf’s Reed on a first Monday finish in 35 years at the Emirates Golf Club’s Majlis course.
“Mentally, it was one of the toughest rounds because it would have been easy to let emotions get in the way,” said McIlroy, referring to his rivalry with Reed.
“I had to forget who was up there on the leaderboard. I felt I showed a lot of mental strength.”
It was the latest instalment of an ongoing rivalry that intensified earlier in the week when McIlroy ignored Reed on the driving range and the American responded by flicking a LIV Golf tee in his direction.
McIlroy then explained why he had rejected Reed’s attempt to strike up a conversation.
“I was subpoenaed by his lawyer on Christmas Eve,” said the 33-year-old, who has been called as a witness in Reed’s defamation case against the PGA Tour among others.
More to follow.