Westwood wins in Abu Dhabi for his 25th Euro tour victory

England's Lee Westwood holds the trophy after he won the Abu Dhabi Championship golf tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 19 January 2020

Westwood wins in Abu Dhabi for his 25th Euro tour victory

  • Westwood, who had a one-shot overnight lead, has now won in four different decades starting in the 1990s

ABU DHABI: Lee Westwood secured his 25th European Tour win with victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Sunday.
Westwood, who had a one-shot overnight lead, has now won in four different decades starting in the 1990s. The Englishman’s 5-under par final-round 67 gave him a two-shot margin over a chasing pack of France’s Victor Perez (63) and England’s Tommy Fleetwood (63) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (67) who all finished on 271.
Bernd Wiesberger and second-round leader Francesco Laporta, who both started the final round one back of Westwood, had their challenge fall away after rounds of 72 and 74.
Top-ranked Brooks Koepka finished joint 34th with an 8-under 280 after a 69 in the final round, 11 back of Westwood.
It was Koepka’s first tournament since returning from a knee injury he aggravated in October when he slipped while walking off the tee at the CJ Cup in South Korea. He previously had stem cell treatment for a partially torn tendon in his patella.
Westwood, a former world No. 1-ranked player, was challenged throughout the final round.
Fitzpatrick, who was two shots off Westwood before the start of the day, got off to a strong start and an impressive front nine saw him pile on the pressure but the 46-year-old former world No. 1 kept his cool and continued to putt well to secure his victory.
“It’s been a good week,” Westwood told europeantour.com. “I wasn’t really paying any attention to what other people were doing.
“I was trying to control me, control my emotions and control what I’m working on in the golf swing. Just managed to do that.
“A little slip-up at 16. Like I said yesterday, with what I’m working on, if I don’t quite do it, I hit a pull, and I hit a pull second shot and pulled the putt actually, as well, but I hit some good shots coming in, and really just pleased with the way I controlled myself.”
Westwood was ranked No. 63 in the world going into the event, but the first victory by an English player on the 2020 Race to Dubai should move him into the top 30.
Fitzpatrick is already in there and was pleased to start the year with a strong performance, he added: “Front nine I felt like could I hole everything and managed to hole one putt for par, which was nice to keep a bit of momentum going.
“Just on back nine, just couldn’t make a thing. It was just one of those days, but hey, that’s golf. I’m delighted. It’s a great start to the year.”
Fleetwood, on his 29th birthday, carded a final round of nine under to finish on 17 under, but fell just short of winning the event for a third time.
“You just concentrate on what you’re doing and every time, every week we play, somebody is going to play great golf and at the moment that’s Lee,” said Fleetwood.
“I’m very, very happy with my weekend, I felt like I played some really good golf.”
Perez joined Fleetwood with a final round of 63 to come joint-second while Louis Oosthuizen finished fifth on 15 under.
Sergio Garcia finished six off Westwood to come tied for eighth alongside Austria’s Wiesberger.


Manchester City’s loyal Middle East fanbase awaiting more cup success on Sunday

Updated 16 min 46 sec ago

Manchester City’s loyal Middle East fanbase awaiting more cup success on Sunday

  • Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s takeover of the club in 2008 transformed it into global power
  • For some fans, their affection pre-dates the Abu Dhabi ownership

LONDON: For many football fans in the Middle East, their love affair with Manchester City began with Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s takeover of the club in 2008.
It was a moment that transformed the club, turning it into a global superpower.
The last decade has seen unprecedented success for a team that historically had lived in the shadows of neighbors Manchester United.
Four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups have been added under Robert Mancini, Manuel Pellegrini and Pep Guardiola.
Despite a relatively disappointing 2019-20 Premier League campaign, Wednesday night’s outstanding 2-1 victory over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu has left them firm favorites to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals, and potentially to go on and win the trophy that the owners and manager Guardiola covet most.
But for some, their affection pre-dates the Abu Dhabi ownership.
Malek Tabbal, Lebanese Manchester City superfan, has become a social media star after appearing in a video that regales his longstanding love for the club, and he is hoping this Sunday’s the Carabao Cup Final at Wembley against Aston Villa will see Guardiola’s men claim the first domestic trophy of the season.

Tabbal has been a Manchester City supporter for over 30 years, and the video followed showed him on a visit to the Etihad Stadium where he was able to meet some of his favorite players.
Pep Guardiola’s side will be aiming to win the Carabao Cup for the third consecutive year on Sunday and Tabbal, founder of the official Manchester City Supporters’ Club in Lebanon, will be glued to his TV as he cheers on the likes of Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and the rest of the side.
“Under normal circumstances I would have gone to Wembley to see the Final but unfortunately on this occasion I’m not able to, so I will hopefully gather with the Man City Supporters’ Club in Lebanon,” Tabbal said.
Luckily for him, he has already seen City win the trophy a few years ago.
“The League Cup means a lot to me because back in 2014 I took my son to watch the final between Man City and Sunderland, which we won 3-1,” Tabbal said. “It was a day I will always remember because my son was only eight years old and that was the first time he’d ever been to a game.”
It’s a trophy that for long held a special affection for City fans, it being the last trophy won before the 2011 FA Cup in the Sheikh Mansour era.
“It’s always been important to City fans. The flashback in our minds was always the 1976 final, when Dennis Tueart scored an overhead kick, so for us it’s a great trophy, and in recent years we’ve done really well in the competition.”
Having had to watch Man City on his own for many years, Tabbal decided to set up Lebanon’s official Manchester City Supporters’ Club in order to experience matches alongside like-minded fans.
“Typically, we send an announcement out on social media that there will be a gathering of City fans for a game, and there are normally 20-25 supporters who turn up to watch together,” he explains. “For many years, supporting City was quite a lonely experience, so now to see so many young fans in Lebanon interested in the club means so much to me.”
City’s success, and the quality of players on show, no doubt has made watching the team in recent years a hugely enjoyable experience for Tabbal.
“The actual feeling of supporting City hasn’t changed much,” he said. “But what has changed is the level of expectation, and the feeling you’re above the clouds when City win trophies and play incredible football. It’s a dream come true.”
He is hoping for another trophy to be added to the collection on Sunday.
“It’s a bigger game for Aston Villa than us as they haven’t been to a cup final for a while, so I don’t think it will be easy at all.
“Even though I’m excited, I’m also quite tense, as I would be for a game against one of our traditional rivals such as Liverpool or Man United, but hopefully our quality will shine through and we will get our hands on the trophy again.”