The Portuguese, who started the day four shots off the lead, climbed into contention with a chip-in eagle on the eighth hole
Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, chairman of the Emirates Golf Federation, and Ricardo Gouveia of Portugal pose with the trophy. — Supplied photo
Ricardo Gouveia eagled the final hole to win the Abu Dhabi Challenge in dramatic fashion after posting a six under par final round of 66 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
The Portuguese, who started the day four shots off the lead, climbed into contention with a chip-in eagle on the eighth hole before birdieing the 17th and eagling the last to get to 19 under par for the week and secure a sixth Challenge Tour title.
On a pulsating final day, where five different players held the lead, it was Gouveia who triumphed, finishing two shots ahead of England’s Tom Lewis, Dubai resident Joshua Grenville-Wood, South African Wilco Nienaber and Spaniard Ivan Cantero Gutierrez who shared second on 17 under par.
Gouveia, who topped the Challenge Tour Rankings in 2015, was pleased to rediscover his form in Abu Dhabi and return to the winner’s circle.
“It was a crazy day.” he said. “I didn’t feel like I brought my best game off the tee, but I managed myself really well. I knew the pins were going to be tucked away and my strategy was really good. I holed some nice putts and I’m so happy to finish on top.
“I tried to focus on finishing the round strong because in golf you never know what can happen. It was a special way to finish, and I’m delighted right now.”
The 31-year-old, who will tee it up at the UAE Challenge next week, admits his experience of winning Challenge Tour events in the past helped him get over the line.
“I have done a lot of mental preparation recently and I have managed my nerves a lot better,” he said. “I have been using the pressure as fuel coming down the stretch.
“I had a good pre-season, and I knew my game was heading in the right direction. I didn’t start the season great, but I had five weeks of very good preparation for this event, and I felt ready to compete at the top of the leaderboard again.
“I’m going to play next week on the Challenge Tour and after this win I have gained so much confidence.”