WATCH: Pro holes epic downhill bunker shot to win in Abu Dhabi

Victor Perez provided some fireworks Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

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While most American golf fans were fast asleep Saturday night, some real drama was unfolding on a golf course half a world away at the DP World Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, the first DP World event of the year.

A host of former major champions were in the mix heading into Sunday’s final round. Shane Lowry and Francesco Molinari held a share of the lead. Padraig Harrington was two shots back.

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But it was a 30-year-old Frenchman and Ryder Cup hopeful who ended the day on top, and much of it was thanks to an incredibly difficult bunker hole-out on the second-to-last hole of the tournament.

Victor Perez began the final round at Yas Links one shot behind the three co-leaders at 12 under. Riding a torrid front nine stretch, Perez held a narrow lead when he reached the 17th. But when his tee shot at the par-3 found a bunker elevated well above the hole, it looked like the fairytale ending wasn’t to be.

With a severe downslope between his ball and the cup, Perez’s only play was to attempt to fly it right to the cup and hope for the best. Instead, he sent his ball well beyond the hole and watched as it spun back and in for an unlikely birdie. Check it out below.

After the round, Perez shared his thinking behind the shot.

“I was just trying to fly the ball all the way to the hole and if it came up a bit heavy was probably going it release down to the hole and probably have an 8-footer for par,” Perez said on Sunday. “Hopefully I make 3 and maybe I make 4 and, then we are tied with the last hole to go. It came up maybe a little skinny, I’m not going to lie, and spun back and the fortune of the ball going in which is probably the greatest shot I’ve ever hit.”

The hole-out gave Perez a three-shot lead heading to the last, which he would end up needing. After Perez made a bogey-6, Min Woo Lee nearly holed out an eagle chip that would have sent them to a playoff. But Lee’s ball burned the edge, and the crown was Perez’s, the third DP World Tour title of his career.

“I’m delighted to finish on top,” Perez said after the victory. “It was a crazy finish, but I feel like I’m used to that now. Hopefully I can make it a little easier for the next one.”

You can watch Perez’s emotional reaction after winning below.

Kevin Cunningham

Kevin Cunningham

Golf.com Editor

As managing producer for GOLF.com, Cunningham edits, writes and publishes stories on GOLF.com, and manages the brand’s e-newsletters, which reach more than 1.4 million subscribers each month. A former two-time intern, he also helps keep GOLF.com humming outside the news-breaking stories and service content provided by our reporters and writers, and works with the tech team in the development of new products and innovative ways to deliver an engaging site to our audience.