Gary Stal

Stal, who started the day tied in fifth place, shot a seven under par 65, his best round of the week, to finish at 19-under for the Championship and seal his maiden European Tour victory.

HOW IT HAPPENED…

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship served up a final day feast for the fans today with the most dramatic finish in its 10-year history. Frenchman Gary Stal, ranked 357 in the world before the Championship, overturned an eight shot deficit against final day favourite Martin Kaymer to take an unexpected but well deserved victory.

Stal, who started the day tied in fifth place, shot a seven under par 65, his best round of the week, to finish at 19-under for the Championship and seal his maiden European Tour victory.

“It's really crazy and I’m very happy to win this tournament,” he said. “It's unbelievable to win, because when I saw the leaderboard, I saw Martin Kaymer on 24‑under, and thought it's not possible.”

If his win was unexpected coming up the final stretch, it seemed downright impossible after the first few holes. Kaymer, who led the field by six shots overnight at 20-under, started birdie-birdie-par-birdie to go 23-under and 10 shots clear of the field, in a clear statement of intent. But the three-time Champion, who also holds the record winning score of 24-under, was to experience three nightmare holes. A bogey on the 6th was only his third all week – but was then followed by a double bogey on 9 and a triple bogey on 13.

The day belonged to Stal, with an outstanding performance against some of the world’s best players. Birdies on the 4th and the 6th were followed by a streak of four birdies in a row around the turn, before a three on the 16th edged him in front.

The Frenchman came close with a birdie putt from just off the green on 18, leaving him a simple tap-in victory – and a first prize purse of $450,000 that dwarfs his previous best of €39,700. Stal had two Challenge Tour victories to his name before the tournament was later crowned the European Tour’s Race to Dubai player of the month.