Tiger ties for 3rd in Abu Dhabi

Tiger Woods (R) of the U.S. and Robert Rock of England walk on the 17th green during the final...

Tiger Woods (R) of the U.S. and Robert Rock of England walk on the 17th green during the final round of the Abu Dhabi Championship at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club January 29, 2012. Rock won his head-to-head duel with a ragged Woods to lift the Abu Dhabi Championship title on Sunday after the former world number one produced his worst performance of the week. REUTERS/Nikhil Monteiro

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, Last Updated: 12:35 PM ET

ABU DHABI - Robert Rock trumped some of the best players in the world Sunday, including fellow third-round co-leader Tiger Woods, to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

Rock shot a two-under 70 on Sunday to finish the championship at 13-under 275.

"I really can't believe I did that today," Rock said in a televised interview. "I was just very happy to be playing with Tiger Woods today. Early on, I was very, very nervous, but hit some good shots and began to think, 'why not?'"

Rory McIlroy, the No. 3 player in the world, posted a three-under 69 and came in second for the second straight year. The reigning U.S. Open champion lost by a stroke at minus-12.

Woods didn't get anything going on Sunday. He hit only two fairways in the final round, sprayed iron shots all over Abu Dhabi Golf Club and ended up with an even-par 72.

"I was right there with a chance to win the golf tournament and didn't do it," Woods said on TV. "I felt I was just a touch off."

Woods shared third place with Graeme McDowell and Thomas Bjorn, who both had four-under 68s. McDowell played the final seven holes in five-under par thanks to an ace and chip-in birdie, but it wasn't enough. The trio finished at minus-11.

This Sunday belonged to Rock, a 34-year-old Englishman, who was once a club pro before landing on the European Tour.

With a two-shot lead over McIlroy and three clear of Woods on the par-five 18th tee, Rock made things interesting.

He drove into a hazard near water on the right side and decided to take a penalty drop and hit his third from the fairway. Rock played down the fairway safely after the lost stroke.

"It set off OK, but it faded a bit, the wind blew it and it was a weak strike," Rock said of his drive on 18. "You've got to have a look, but it wasn't up."

Woods needed an eagle to get in at 13-under, but drove poorly into the left rough, then came up 60 yards short and left with his second. His third ran slightly through the green, but Rock opened the door ever so slightly.

Rock knocked his fourth 35 feet short of the flagstick. He still had two putts for the title and lagged his par putt inches from the hole. Rock marked and let Woods and Peter Hanson finish the hole before he tapped in for bogey and the victory.

The win was his second on the European Tour. Rock broke through last year at the Italian Open.

"I was expecting some pressure," admitted Rock. "It's an amazing tournament to win."

Rock and Woods both birdied the second and third holes, but Woods faltered immediately after the birdie run. He missed the green off the tee at the fourth, then missed a 12-foot par save. Woods came up short with his second at No. 5 and that led to back-to-back bogeys.

Woods fell two behind Rock, who extended the cushion with a five-foot birdie putt at the sixth. Rock made a disaster of the par-five eighth with a drive in the right rough, a poor lay up, a missed green with a wedge, and finally a 15- foot par putt that stayed above ground.

Rock was two ahead, then Woods bogeyed the par-five 10th. McIlroy inched up the leaderboard with a birdie at 13, then Rock bogeyed the same hole and his lead was down to a stroke.

Rock reclaimed his two-shot lead over McIlroy with a beautiful birdie at the 14th. He drove into a bunker, but hit a spectacular six-iron to 20 feet and poured in the birdie chance.

Rock extended his edge with a six-footer for birdie at 16. He was three in front of the No. 3 player in the world, but McIlroy trimmed the margin with a birdie at the last.

Despite the hiccup at the last, Rock held on for the win and it was an important one. He got into the top 60 in the world rankings and will be in the field for a few World Golf Championships events and is knocking on the door for a Masters invitation.

"I worked hard at my game, but I didn't think this would happen," Rock said in his interview.

George Coetzee (70) and Matteo Manassero (69) shared sixth at minus-10, followed by Keith Horne (69), 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie (72), Francesco Molinari (72) and Thorbjorn Olesen (71). That group finished at nine-under 279.

NOTES: Rock joined a select group of players who have beaten Woods when he's held at least a share of the 54-hole lead...Rock moved to second in the Race to Dubai...McDowell's ace came at the 12th, the third there this week...Bjorn will defend his title next week at the Qatar Masters.


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