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Gallacher retains Dubai crown

ESPN staff
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Stephen Gallacher was congratulated by his children on the 18th green © Getty Images
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Stephen Gallacher made history by becoming the first man to retain the Dubai Desert Classic after shooting a final-round 72 to finish 16 under.

The victory is only Gallacher's third in 18 years and 431 events on the European Tour.

Gallacher led Rory McIlroy by two strokes heading into the final day, but his hopes looked to be fading after four bogeys on the front nine left him in a five-way share of the lead following 11 holes.

However he rallied with birdies on the 11th, 13th, 16th and 17th holes to edge out Emiliano Grillo by one shot. Grillo had made a late charge with birdies on the 13th and 16th, and threw down the gauntlet to Gallacher with an eagle at the last to finish with a 66 - his highest on Tour.

"It took everything I had after the start," Gallacher told Sky Sports. "It was the plague of the front nine again.

"I was quite fortunate that nobody was running away with it so I just tried to hit one shot at a time and stay in it.

"When I holed a nice putt on 11, I thought I was back in with a chance and then I had three birdies from there in."

Romain Wattel also shot a 66 to share third place on 14 under with Brooks Koepka (70) of the United States.

McIlroy's challenge faded away with four bogeys and two birdies in his round of 74, which left him with a share of ninth place. Tiger Woods (71) birdied his last three holes to tie for 41st.

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