Starting the final day a good three shots ahead, Scotland squandered the lead to Dodd, a three-time winner on the European Tour, on the 10th, but kept his cool, picking up a crucial birdie on the 16th to seal a wire-to-wire victory.
Once hailed as the new Tiger Woods when he won a nationwide competition titled Search For A Tiger, aged 14, Scotland closed with a tidy one-under-par 70 to go eight under for the tournament, a good two shots of Dodd and three off Pakistan’s Mohammed Munir.
Dodd had his moments to close the deal when he took the outright lead with a birdie on the 10th, but a watery double-bogey on the par-3, 14th threw a spanner in the works of a player searching to find the form he showed in winning the Nissan Irish Open, the Volvo China Open and the Smurfit Kappa European Open some years back.
“Winning is one thing, winning over a player of the stature of Stephen makes you feel special. I am really pleased to be able to do that,” said a jubilant Dodd, after receiving the winner’s cheque for $9,000 and a trophy from Adel Zarouni, vice chairman of the Emirates Golf Federation.
Mohamed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the MENA Golf Tour, and Mustafa Al Hashimi, manager of the Dubai Creek Golf Club, were also present at the presentation ceremony.
The 29-year-old Englishman, who will be playing in all the remaining events on the MENA Golf Tour, said: “The aim is to try and finish among the top three on the Order of Merit and win a spot in the 2013 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
“I don’t think any tour offer such a massive prize. It will be just great to play in the Desert Classic since it’s becoming harder and harder for me to qualify for the European Tour.”
About the final day’s proceedings, he said: “ I knew Stephen would make early birdies which he made and I, in a way, was prepared for it. I picked up a shot on the 16th after Stephen double-bogeyed the 14th and that made things easier for me,” said Scotland, who was two ahead going into the closing hole.
Dodd felt he had his moments, but one bad shot cost him dearly. “Take that away, I think I played really well this week and have every reason to feel satisfied. Though I am still nowhere near my best, I am getting slowly and steadily there,” said the 46-year-old Welshman, whose final round 69 was studded with birdies on fourth, sixth and 10th.
Like, Dodd, Pakistan’s Munir also shot a 69 and flirted with success before fading away down the stretch. “I was very much in the mix when I eagled the 10th and picked up a shot each on the 13th but a couple of three putts, especially on the 18th did not help my case,” said Munir, ranked number three in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, England’s Max Williams was declared the Best Amateur of the event after rounds of 69, 71 and 72 for a 54-hole total of 212, a good three shots of Michael Harradine, a UAE-based golfer from Switzerland. Tyler Hogarty settled for third on 217.
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