Cabrera-Bello sinks late birdie to win in Dubai

By Matt Smith

DUBAI (Reuters) - Rafael Cabrera-Bello was the surprise winner of the Dubai Desert Classic Sunday after sinking a nerveless birdie on the 17th hole to end on 18 under par and beat Lee Westwood and Scottish veteran Stephen Gallacher by a single shot.

The amiable Spaniard, who had shot a blistering nine-under 63 in the opening round, retook the lead on the final day with successive birdies on the 11th and 12th holes, but on the 13th Gallacher sank an eagle and Westwood a birdie to join him on 17 under.

The trio remained tied until Cabrera-Bello's decisive putt on 17. One hole earlier, the Spaniard had scrambled for par after shanking his tee shot into the trees, his ball ending in the sandy void between the fairways, while Westwood would rue a missed birdie chance on 16th, his nine-foot effort stopping short.


The world number three was also found wanting on the 17th, rolling a seven-foot birdie putt inches wide, while Cabrera-Bello was on the par-five 18th.

His final tee shot missed the fairway, but he reached the green edge for three and eventually putted for par.

That meant Westwood, 38, and Gallacher needed to make birdies on the final hole to force a play-off. Westwood's second shot left him just off the green, but he then played a clumsy chip that stopped 20 feet from the pin.

The two Britons had wanted tougher conditions to make the Majlis course bare its teeth following a birdie bonanza on the tranquil opening two days and they got their wish on the final round as swirling gusts of wind buffeted the fairways.

That made for a tougher day around the 7,344-yard course and the leaderboard saw little movement as the final round progressed.

McIlroy, the leader after two rounds, was three over for the day after the front nine, picking up four birdies on the final nine holes to end on 14 under in joint fifth.

Kaymer struggled, shooting two over for the day to slip off the leaderboard.

(Editing by Clare Fallon )