RORY McIlroy may have ditched his new putter after just one round, but keeping faith with his helped Craig Lee reap a decent reward as he finished top Scot in the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship.
A closing 67, which featured six birdies, for a seven-under total secured the Stirling man a share of 17th spot and a cheque for around £21,500.
“I picked up a new Odyssey putter at the beginning of the week and it’s gelled straight away,” said Lee. “I’ve gone back to a more traditional putter and it lines up really well.”
His overall game was pretty polished for the final salvo in the UAE capital, meaning he will head for Qatar – the next stop on the Gulf swing – with a spring in his step.
“I hit the ball today as good as I’ve ever hit it,” he added. “I missed only three greens today, which is pretty good.”
Lying joint-fifth overnight, Richie Ramsay slipped to a tie for 23rd on the back of a closing round of 75, which contained a solitary birdie at the 14th, though he almost saw his ball pitch full toss into the hole for an eagle at the last. “That was the story of my day,” reported the Aberdonian, who had been forced to visit a doctor before teeing off after waking up with an unsettled stomach.
Despite missing out on the chance to collect a big whack of ranking points, he is still on course to be among the top 64 in the world at the cut-off point for next month’s WGC Match Play in Arizona.
Paul Lawrie, who has already secured his spot in that field, signed off a “frustrating” week with a 72 for 288, one more than Peter Whiteford who carded a 71 in the company of Open champion Ernie Els.
“It was the first time I’d played with Ernie and it was a privilege as he’s a touch of class,” said the 32-year-old Fifer, who is almost as laid-back as the “Big Easy”.
Lawrie, who tees off the defence of his Qatar Masters title on Wednesday, is hoping a change of venue will bring a change of luck. “It was the same story all week – some good stuff, some bad stuff but a lot of really poor play,” said the Aberdonian.
Despite missing the cut in Abu Dhabi, Scott Jamieson still leads the Race to Dubai after four events on the 2013 European Tour schedule.