Jamie Donaldson claimed his second big title inside six months in Abu Dhabi. Picture by Getty ImagesNo-one had fewer putts than Pádraig Harrington but it was reigning Irish Open champion Jamie Donaldson who had the fewest strokes in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

As Harrington continued his return to form with the blade, finishing joint top of the putts per round charts en route to a share of 23rd place with Peter Lawrie,  Donaldson claimed the biggest financial windfall of his career and his second win inside seventh months when he edged out world No 5 Justin Rose and budding star Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark by a stroke.

It took the  37-year old Welshman 12 years as a professional and 255 European Tour starts before he finally broke through at Royal Portrush last June.  

But while he earned €333,330 that day, he picked up € 336,726 as he came from two shots behind Rose and eventually overhauled him with a final round 68 for a 14 under par total of 274.

He could even even afford the luxury of a dropped shot at the last, though he later admitted that the felt like punching something as he feared he’d opened the door to a playoff.

Rose and his playing partner Olesen had a chance to force Donaldson into extra holes as both men had birdie putts on the 18th green.

But Olesen’s 18 footer slipped by and Rose’s 12 footer lipped out and they were forced to share second on 13 under par 275.

“It is pretty surreal really,” said Donaldson, whose cheque moved him to second place in The Race To Dubai. “I played really well all week although I got away with it a bit at the last.

“I thought either Justin or Thorbjørn would hole their birdie putts, if not both of them. But when both putts slipped by, it was my week.

“I am very happy to be standing here holding the trophy though although it is a bit like buses, isn’t it? I had to wait so long for my first win in Portrush last year and then the second has come along just like that.”

Against a field that had earlier in the week included the top two players in the Official World Golf Ranking – Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods who both missed the halfway cut – Donaldson could hardly believe what had happened.

“I played the Pro-Am on Wednesday and thought the course was pretty difficult. I thought if I could get a decent finish I would be chuffed. Therefore, to be holding the trophy is just mad.”

Rose and Olesen battled hard but the biggest sympathy vote amongst the challenging pack went to Englishman David Howell. For a while, the former World Number Nine was in the lead following five birdies in his first ten holes.

But Howell bogeyed the short 12th before, on the next, he splashed out of sand to four feet and, incredibly, four-putted from there for a triple bogey seven. It meant he had to be content with a tie for sixth place.

Harrington closed with a bogey free 69, his first error free card since last October’s Alfred Dunhill Links 17 rounds ago, as he finished on five under.

The 41-year old Dubliner broke 30 putts per round each day, taking just 26 in the final round for a grand total of 103 that left him tied at the top with Spain’s Alejandro Cañizares in the putts per round department.

He hit fewer than half the fairways, however, and just 40 of 72 greens compared to 54 greens for Donaldson, 58 for Rose and 55 for Olesen, who had just one bogey in the entire event before taking a double bogey six at the sixth in the final round.

Lawrie opened his season in fine fashion to share 23rd with Harrington and earn just under €20,000 as he closed with a 70.

Expectant father Gareth Maybin followed three successive 71s with a 73 to slip 15 places to joint 39th on two under while Michael Hoey was tied 61st on two over after a final round 71.

Final scores:
274 J Donaldson (Wal) 67 70 69 68

275 T Olesen (Den) 68 69 69 69, J Rose (Eng) 67 69 68 71

277 R Santos  (Por) 71 72 66 68

278 B Grace  (RSA) 71 69 73 65

279 J Luiten (Ned) 70 69 73 67, D Howell (Eng) 69 71 68 71, M Kaymer (Ger) 71 69 70 69

280 P Hanson (Swe) 73 72 66 69, A Hansen (Den) 71 71 69 69, J Campillo (Esp) 74 68 69 69, T Jaidee (Tha) 70 71 66 73, G Coetzee (RSA) 69 71 71 69, J Kruger (RSA) 72 69 69 70, J Dufner (USA) 71 69 72 68, G Fdez-Castaño  (Esp) 70 67 71 72

281 M Campbell (Nzl) 69 71 69 72, S Chowrasia (Ind) 73 73 65 70, C Lee (Sco) 72 70 72 67, A Dodt (Aus) 74 70 65 72

282 B Wiesberger  (Aut) 74 71 66 71, M Fraser (Aus) 75 71 67 69

283 R Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 74 72 69 68, D Willett  (Eng) 70 71 71 71, R Ramsay  (Sco) 73 68 67 75, R Green (Aus) 71 75 70 67, P Harrington (Irl) 72 72 70 69, H Stenson (Swe) 69 71 76 67, P Lawrie (Irl) 72 72 69 70, P Casey  (Eng) 71 73 70 69, M Manassero (Ita) 72 68 3 70

285 S Webster (Eng) 73 72 72 68, S Kjeldsen (Den) 70 71 75 69, P Price (Wal) 72 74 69 70, D Fichardt (RSA) 72 70 72 71, L Gagli  (Ita) 74 68 70 73, A Noren  (Swe) 76 70 68 71, K Horne (RSA) 72 69 73 71

286 L Wen-Chong (Chn) 69 72 74 71, A Cañizares  (Esp) 73 69 72 72, E Els (RSA) 71 73 72 70, R Jacquelin (Fra) 72 69 73 72, M Siem  (Ger) 72 72 72 70, G Maybin (Nir) 71 71 71 73, M Foster (Eng) 72 72 74 68, A Hartø  (Den) 74 72 68 72, P Larrazábal (Esp) 68 74 72 72

287 R Bland (Eng) 72 73 72 70, P Meesawat  (Tha) 76 69 69 73, P Whiteford (Sco) 73 70 73 71, G Mulroy (RSA) 71 68 75 73

288 R Gonzalez (Arg) 72 72 70 74, P Lawrie (Sco) 74 71 71 72, T Björn (Den) 72 74 71 71, S Dyson  (Eng) 75 70 72 71

289 J Sjöholm (Swe) 71 70 74 74, I Garrido (Esp) 75 70 73 71, T Hamilton (USA) 75 69 71 74, F Zanotti (Par) 76 70 73 70, J Edfors (Swe) 71 73 68 77

290 G Bourdy (Fra) 72 73 73 72, M Hoey  (Nir) 72 73 74 71, T Lewis (Eng) 74 72 71 73

291 G Storm  (Eng) 72 73 73 73, R Wattel  (Fra) 73 69 73 76

292 R Coles (Eng) 73 70 77 72, O Fisher  (Eng) 73 71 74 74

293 A Sullivan (Eng) 71 73 76 73

294 D Horsey (Eng) 74 72 73 75

296 C Wood  (Eng) 73 71 77 75.