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Woods fades in Abu Dhabi, loses to Rock by two

Robert Rock, left, is congratulated by Tiger Woods after winning The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Rock shot a 2-under 70 for the victory, while Woods unravelled after a strong start to Sunday's final round.

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Robert Rock held his nerve Sunday to hold off U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship for the biggest win of the Englishman's career.

The 117th-ranked Rock shot a 2-under 70 for an overall 13-under 275 to beat the 22-year Northern Irishman by a shot and the 14-time major winner by two. Woods finished in a tie for third with Thomas Bjorn (68) and Graeme McDowell (68). Matteo Manassero (69), the 18-year-old Italian, and George Coetzee (70) of South Africa were a further shot back.

Woods started the final round tied for the lead with the unheralded Rock. He appeared poised to win his second tournament in a row after ending a two-year winless drought with a victory last month at the Chevron World Challenge.

But the control Woods displayed for much of the weekend abandoned him Sunday, and it was Rock who held it together down the stretch.

"I didn't hit the ball as well as I would like to," Woods said. "Today I was just a touch off. I was righting the ball through the fairways. I was hitting the ball a little bit further than I thought I would ... So something to look at, and something to try and figure out."

Woods started strong and it looked as though he might pull away from Rock, sinking a 40-footer on No. 2 for birdie and chipping to within a foot of the cup for a second birdie on the third. But Rock -- who said Saturday he was a bit overwhelmed to face his idol -- didn't blink. He also birdied two of the first three holes to keep pace.

Then Woods began to unravel.

Read the full story here

Photo by Andrew Redington, Getty Images


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