Shane Lowry made a first cut of the New Year but the Open Champion had to settle for 11th place at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Lowry got his final round off to a horror start bogeying three of his opening four holes. The highlight of his day arrived with an eagle ‘3’ at the 15th but he handed both shots back with bogeys at the next two holes.
The Clara golfer birdied the 17th but it was too late in signing for a 74 for a four-under par tally.
It left Lowry trailing only five shots behind Australian Lucas Herbert who brilliantly celebrated Australia Day with a birdie at the second extra hole to deny South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout victory.
Both Herbert and Bezuidenhout posted final day 68s for nine-under par totals with Herbert managing to birdie his closing two holes while his South African rival could look back to putting his third shot into water at the 18th in regulation play in taking bogey.
Herbert captured a first Tour win in his 50th European Tour event; a fourth by an Australian in four weeks, on four different tours and on three different continents.
Adam Scott captured the 2019 Australian PGA Championship just days prior to Christmas while Wade Ormsby won the Asian Tour’s Hong Kong Open and then later that day Cameron Smith broke through for a first individual success on the PGA Tour in winning the Sony Hawaiian Open.
And while delighted to continue the ‘Down Under’ success on the world’s second top Tour, Herbert was especially pleased to now have his name on a same trophy as Rory McIlroy, with McIlroy sealing victory in the 2009 and also 2015.
“It’s pretty cool to now join some great names on the trophy and I know Rory won this start for his first European Tour win, so we are both in that club,” said Herbert.
“That’s a pretty cool club to be a part of.”
The ‘toughened’ conditions to greet this year’s field got the result the Tour sought with the nine-under winning tally being the lowest ever in the 31-year history of the event and 15 shots fewer than Bryson DeChambeau record-setting mark of 24-under par a year ago, and two shots fewer to prior lowest tally of 11-under par set in the 1989 opening event and then again in 2010 and ’11.
DeChambeau struggled fighting a virus to bogey his closing three holes in a 76 to finish tied eighth.
While Herbert will bank a cool Euro 490,323, Lowry’s reward was Euro 48,071.
It had been a slow start for the Irishman in posting a level par 72 but he superbly muscled his way up the board with a pair of 69s only to dip over the last day.
“I played great for a couple of days and I had a chance to win the tournament,” he said.
“I didn’t get off to a fast start but then when I made eagle on 13, I thought to myself if I could make three birdies on the way in then you never know.
“It’s been a good solid week and it’s a good effort for me to take into next week and there is plenty of positives in my game.
“So, very much looking forward to next week as it’s a new tournament for me. I am playing good and for two out of the three events I’ve played this New Year ,I’ve been there or thereabouts.”
Padraig Harrington has also moved onto the Race to Dubai money list also in signing for a closing 74 for a five-over par tally.
Harrington hit half of the 14 fairways over the final round but recorded 31 putts as he joins Lowry and also Graeme McDowell, who had missed the Dubai cut, in teeing-up in Thursday’s start to the Saudi Invitational.