Published February 03, 2013
| Sports Network
Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Stephen Gallacher holed out for eagle on the par-4 16th Sunday and went on to beat Richard Sterne by three strokes at the Dubai Desert Classic.
Gallacher closed with a 1-under 71 to finish his second European Tour title at 22-under-par 266. His total matched Thomas Bjorn's tournament record, which was set in 2001.
"Obviously, I'm delighted. I didn't realize it was as long as that. It's taken a long time," said Gallacher, whose last win was in 2004.
Sterne also closed with a 71 on the Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club to end three back at minus-19.
The lead changed hands several times on the back nine as Sterne had three bogeys and two birdies in the first six holes. The par-4 16th proved to be the turning point.
Both players missed the fairway off the tee and Sterne's approach came up well short of the green. Gallacher then holed his second shot for eagle to jump to 22-under.
"I don't even know what to say on that one. I've holed four shots this week," said Gallacher. "You got to do that these days to win. You need that sort of magic."
Sterne went on to make bogey and dropped four behind. Gallacher parred the final two holes to seal the win.
Felipe Aguilar (69) and Thorbjorn Olesen (71) shared third place at minus-17. Lee Westwood, who was making his season debut, carded a 4-under 68 to end alongside Marcus Fraser (67) at 16-under 272.
Spaniards had won this title the last three years. Four Spaniards, including last year's winner Rafa Cabrera-Bello, tied for 17th at 11-under 277.
Gallacher led by three at the start of the day, but that lead was gone by the time he walked off the second green. He opened with bogeys at one and two, while Sterne converted a birdie try at No. 2 to join Gallacher at minus-19.
Both players birdied the par-5 third to remain tied for the lead. After four pars in a row by both players, the lead see-sawed back and forth for the next six holes.
Gallacher 3-putted the eighth to fall one back, but bounced back with a kick- in birdie on the ninth after a stellar shot from the trees.
"It was one of those ones where I had a window that was about four foot and I had to hit it through it, and cut it and hit it under the first tree and over the next tree. When I came out and saw it was two foot, I couldn't believe it," Gallacher explained of his second shot at No. 9. "That sort of kept me going. That was a catalyst to dig in the back nine."
Sterne moved into the lead at 21-under with a birdie on No. 10. He stumbled to a bogey on the 11th, and dropped another shot at 12 after his second shot from the rough came up short of the green.
The South African two-putted for birdie at the 13th to regain at share of the lead at 20-under. However, Sterne faltered to a three-putt bogey at 15 to slip one back.
Gallacher then took control with his hole-out eagle at 16.
NOTES: Gallacher earned 309,233 euros for the victory ... He had played 210 events in between this and his last win in 2004 ... With the win, Gallacher will move inside the top 60 in the world rankings ... Gallacher had five eagles on the week with two in the first and third rounds ... The European Tour heads back to South Africa next week for the Joburg Open, where Branden Grace earned the first of his four wins last year.