Willett holds nerve to seal Dubai triumph


Danny Willett secured his fourth European Tour title at the Dubai Desert Classic, pipping Andy Sullivan and Rafael Cabrera-Bello with a superb birdie putt on the 72nd hole.

Overnight leader Willett was briefly overtaken by Sullivan at the start of Sunday's final round, but soon hit the front again and twice opened up a three-shot advantage.

Sullivan and Cabrera-Bello refused to give in and each claimed a share of top spot at 18 under with birdies at the par-five 18th.

Willett therefore needed a four of his own to claim victory and last year's Race to Dubai runner-up held his nerve superbly, holing a left-to-right putt from around 12 feet to complete a round of 69.

"I had to keep going all day to hold off Sulli and Rafa, so I'm just delighted," said Willett prior to being presented with one of golf's most spectacular trophies.

"I played some good golf and Rafa and Sulli just didn't go away.

"I can't think of a better way to start the season."

Willett will move up from 20th in the world rankings as a result of his win, which boosts his hopes of featuring at both the Rio Olympics and 2016 Ryder Cup.

"It's big - you try not to think about it when you're on the golf course, but they're two massive goals of mine," added the Englishman.

Sullivan, who finished fourth in this event last year before again impressing in Dubai with a runner-up finish at the DP World Tour Championship in November, was Willett's nearest rival for much of the final day.

A three-time winner in 2015, Sullivan showed impressive character to salvage an unlikely par on 16 - having been well short of the green in regulation - before birdieing the last.

Cabrera-Bello, Willett's playing partner, picked up shots on each of the last two holes in a late push for a potential play-off berth, but long-time leader Willett was not to be denied.

Alvaro Quiros and An Byeong-hun shared fourth on 16 under after closing rounds of 65, while reigning champion Rory McIlroy shot the same score to finish a shot further back alongside Henrik Stenson (66).