Shiv Kapur got off to a good start in the new year with a creditable tied-11th finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championships.
Kapur, who played the event on an invite after losing his European Tour card last year, shot a final round of two-under 70 to finish at 10-under 278.
The 27-year-old American Rickie Fowler (69) finished the week at 16-under 272 to edge out Belgian Thomas Pieters (67).
Rory McIlroy (68) finished in top-3 for the sixth time in seven years, during which he has finished second four times and third twice. With McIlroy in tied-third place was Henrik Stenson (67) at 14-under 274.
World No. One Jordan Spieth finished with a 68 to lead the group at 11 under alongside Byeong-hun An, Alejandro Canizares, Branden Grace, Joost Luiten and Marcel Siem.
Kapur, who opened the week with a none-too-good 74, played excellently over the last three rounds with rounds of 69-65-70. But for the bogey on ninth, his closing hole of the third round, which finished this morning and the double bogey he dropped on second, Kapur may well have been inside top-5.
“Still I am happy with my play and the start to the season. I put in a lot of work in off-season. I was disappointed with my play last season and sometime you need a kick like that to push you. I worked hard on my game, especially on wedge play and putting. My game tee to green was good but I was losing a lot o shots after that. This week it was better,” said Kapur, who was the lone Indian in the field.
“I had 22 birdies, 20 of them in last three rounds. So to come back from a bad first round, or rather a bad finish in first round, I am happy the way I did. It was nice to finish the week with a birdie. The greens were perfect here and I loved it,” he added.
On the rest of the season, he said, “If I play the way I did this week, I should get back to Europe, which is where I want to be and play there.”
Five-under through 13 holes in third round, when play stopped due to fading light yesterday, Kapur came back and added two more birdies on seventh and eighth to get into top-10. A bogey on closing ninth was disappointing.
In the final round, Kapur had another disappointing double bogey—his second one this week after the one on third hole in second round—but he quickly made up with birdies on fourth, seventh and eighth and added a fourth birdie on 11th. He was moving along well before hitting a bogey on 14th, which was the third time he dropped a shot on the hole this week. He finally ended the week with a birdie on 18th.