ANTALYA, Turkey –– Victor Dubuisson tasted victory for the first time as a professional on Sunday.
Dubuisson birdied three of his final four holes to shoot 24-under 264 and hold off the likes of Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter to win the inaugural Turkish Airlines Open at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal course.
Jamie Donaldson finished two shots back in second while Woods, Rose and Poulter all posted top-5 finishes.
Starting slowly, Dubuisson went on a surge in the last four holes to turn a potential five-shot collapse into a victory, and a significant move from 49th to ninth in the Race To Dubai standing. The top 60 qualify for next week’s season finale, the DP World Tour Championship.
“I’m really proud of what I did because it was the toughest golf day of my life,” Dubuisson said. “On this course level par is a good score, but with the level of players – Tiger, Stenson – you cannot win a tournament with a level-par score, even with a five-shot lead.”
Dubuisson seemed on top of his game early, but when the Frenchman missed a 4-footer for birdie on the opening hole, the reality of the situation seemed to unnerve the 23-year-old.
Birdies that came so easily the first three days became hard pars as Dubuisson made the turn at even par with no blemishes on his card, but feeling the pressure of Poulter and Rose.
“I did change my strategy on a few holes on the front nine and it did cost me because I didn’t make any birdies,” Dubuisson said. “So on the last few holes, I said, ‘Okay, now I have to make some birdies and be aggressive if I want to win this tournament.’ ”
Rose was eight shots back when the day began, but when he turned with a 6-under 29, he had closed the gap to just two shots.
At the same time, Poulter, who was paired with Dubuisson, put some pressure of his own on the Frenchman, turning at 3-under 32 and entering the final nine just three shots back.
Unfortunately for Poulter, his putter left him at the turn. He shot even-par 37 to finish five shots back.
“I just couldn’t quite get close enough,” Poulter said after his final-round 69. ”Got within a couple, but he kept himself in front. I was pressing and just obviously didn’t quite have it.”
Donaldson and Rose, however, continued to put pressure on Dubuisson, who continued to struggle.
After making a birdie on the par-4 10th hole, his first of the day, Dubuisson made his first bogey in 32 holes, at the par-3 14th hole, to fall to 21 under.
As that was happening, just two holes away Donaldson made an ace on the par-3 16th hole from 180 yards with a 7-iron. His playing competitor, Rose, made an uphill 10-footer for birdie at the same hole, both catching Dubuisson.
But Dubuisson then birdied three of the next four holes, starting on the drivable par-4 15th, to take back the lead at 22 under.
“I got it going, especially on the front nine.” Rose said after a final-round 65. “I kind of figured you had to get it to 23 under, that was the number in my head.”
For Woods, it was a much-to-do-about-nothing round. Three birdies and two bogeys over the first 11 holes hurt his chances to win, but four birdies over the last six holes gave the World No. 1 something to build on for next month at the World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club outside of Los Angeles.
“I got better as the week went on,” Woods said. “(Saturday), I didn’t quite hit it that great on the back nine, but overall it was pretty good.”