Rock upstages Woods to capture Abu Dhabi Golf Championship

Tiger on Abu Dhabi near miss
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Story highlights

  • England's Robert Rock wins Abu Dhabi Golf Championship
  • Rock secures victory by one stroke from Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy
  • Joint-overnight leader Tiger Woods finishes third after par 72
  • Woods was bidding for back-to-back tournament victories

England's Robert Rock upstaged playing partner Tiger Woods to secure a shock victory in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship Sunday.

The world No. 117 started the final round tied on 11 under with the 14-time grand slam champion, but closed with a two-under-par 70 against a 72 for the American.

It gave him a total of 13-under 275, one shot clear of U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy, who took second place after a 69.

"I really can't believe I have done that today," Rock told the official European Tour website.

"I was just very happy to be playing with Tiger. That's a special honor in itself."

Robert Rock wins Abu Dhabi Championship
Robert Rock wins Abu Dhabi Championship

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Robert Rock wins Abu Dhabi Championship 01:38
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Woods, who had claimed victory in the Chevron Challenge in December, remains winless in full-field tournaments for over two years.

He had to settle for a share of third with Denmark's Thomas Bjorn and Northern Ireland's 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, who both carded 68.

"I was just a touch off today," admitted America's former world No. 1

Rock, who has long threatened to fulfill his promise, pulled ahead at the fourth hole and kept his nerve in the face of challenges from Woods and world No. 3 McIlroy.

It was his second tournament win after the Italian Open last year and has boosted his hopes of claiming a place in this year's European Ryder Cup team.

The $2.7 million Abu Dhabi event was the fourth event of the European Tour season and the opening leg of the tour's "Desert Swing" that also includes Qatar and Dubai.

It attracted a stellar field led by world No. 1 Luke Donald, who tied for 48th on one-under 287, and his nearest challenger to top spot, England's Lee Westwood -- who was equal 17th on 282.