Gary Stal profited from Martin Kaymer’s extraordinary collapse to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Sunday, with Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy finishing one shot behind in second place.
McIlroy began the day eight shots off the pace but shot three birdies on the front nine and four coming home to finish six under - 18 under for the tournament.
Kaymer carried a six-shot lead going into the final round and extended his advantage to eight shots after birdies at three of his first four holes, but it went downhill fast for the three-time winner soon after.
A bogey at the sixth hole, a double bogey at the ninth and a triple bogey at the 13th led to the German’s demise and, although Kaymer stopped the rot with five successive pars, he ran out of holes with which to recover.
The reigning US Open champion - a winner of this tournament in 2008, 2010 and 2011 - drove into the bunker on the 18th hole and although he recovered with some fine approach play he missed his birdie putt to cap off a miserable day at the Abu Dhabi Golf Course.
That meant Kaymer finished on 17 under overall - his error-strewn three-over-par 75 the joint worst of the day with England’s Andy Sullivan.
Kaymer’s remarkable slump allowed Stal to pounce and the 22-year-old Frenchman promptly took the lead after Kaymer’s triple bogey thanks to six birdies in his first 11 holes.
After parring the first three holes, Stal picked up shots at the fourth and six before reeling off four successive birdies to the 11th hole to move two clear at the top of the leaderboard.
Four pars followed before Stal birdied the par-four 16th and finished with two pars to finish with a seven-under 65 for the day.