Part of complete coverage on
Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson fall short in Abu Dhabi as Pablo Larrazabal wins
January 19, 2014 -- Updated 1957 GMT (0357 HKT)
It just wasn't Rory McIlroy (left) and Phil Mickelson's day at the final round in Abu Dhabi even though both hit form.
- Spain's Pablo Larrazabal wins the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship
- Top-10 big guns Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson finish an agonising one shot off the lead
- McIlroy says he feels he has a "moral victory" after two-stroke penalty on Saturday
- Mickelson content to play himself into form for 2014
(CNN) -- Rory McIlory and Phil Mickelson found form in the desert despite losing out on a dramatic final day at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.
Spain's Pablo Larrazabal may have walked off into the sunset with the $2.7m prize but the major winners saw the silver lining at their first tournament of the 2014 season.
"What a fun week this has been," enthused Mickelson, the world No.5, despite finishing an agonizing one shot off the lead alongside McIlroy.
"I am happy with the way I played and felt better with my swing each day."
McIlroy was a little more irked by the events of the weekend after he was slapped with a two-stroke penalty Saturday.
"I feel like I'm standing here and I should be 15 under par for the tournament and winning by one," said McIlroy, whose foot fault in the third round was pointed out by his playing partner's caddie.
"I played the least shots of anyone this week. So, I can count it as a moral victory more than anything else.
Rio's Olympic golf course
Mickelson revels in British Open win
Argentina's next elite golfers
"It's frustrating but I've played well the whole week. It's a very positive start to the season so I'm not going to let one little negative ruin that."
A ding-dong final round at the Abu Dhabi tournament saw the lead change hands several times as overnight leader Craig Lee slid out of contention.
At the eighth hole, world No. 7 McIlroy had moved into the lead as he clipped in his third birdie of the day.
Then at the turn, Mickelson moved into the sole lead on 12 under only to unravel at the 13th where he tried to hit the ball out of a bush and carded a three-over-par seven.
"I ended up going with a 3-wood off that tee and just blocked it in a terrible spot," the American explained. "I tried to right hand it out and I double hit it. I don't know how, but it happened."
McIlroy finished off the day with a birdie at the 18th for a very tidy round of 68 but had to rely on Larrazabal cracking to get his hands on the trophy.
Mickelson needed an eagle at the last to snatch the silverware but his final shot stayed out and he had to settle for a birdie.
Barcelona-born Larrazabal held his nerve to sink a birdie on the final green and win by a single stroke for his third career European Tour title.
"It just feels unbelievable," he told reporters. "Today has been very special, to fight against Rory and Phil.
"I don't know what it does to my career. I don't know if this gets me into any of the majors. I just want to go back to the hotel and celebrate."
Read: McIlroy caught out by eagle-eyed caddie
Read: Fancy a round of snow golf?
Read: Is this the new Tiger Woods?
Part of complete coverage on
August 8, 2014 -- Updated 1424 GMT (2224 HKT)
From Seve's "spine-shivering" moment to Jack Nicklaus' "perfect explosion," David Cannon has captured many of golf's defining images.
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1320 GMT (2120 HKT)
They came home as casualties of war -- physically shattered and mentally broken. But golf is proving to be an unlikely salvation for U.S. veterans.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 1231 GMT (2031 HKT)
You are the one hitting the shots, but the man standing over your shoulder could hold the key to your golfing destiny.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1227 GMT (2027 HKT)
He has been there for all three of his son's major wins, but the latest triumph may well have been the sweetest yet for Rory McIlroy's father.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
The next generation of golfers just keeps on getting younger. "They have the confidence to perform against their idols," says one ex-prodigy.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 1159 GMT (1959 HKT)
He was Spain's ultimate matador and golf's greatest escape artist.
June 18, 2014 -- Updated 1536 GMT (2336 HKT)
Two-time major champion Rory McIlroy declares he'll represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics, not Great Britain.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
Already admired by Annika Sorenstam and with a bucketful of talent, New Zealand's Lydia Ko has the world of golf at her feet.
April 28, 2014 -- Updated 1130 GMT (1930 HKT)
Like footie? Partial to a bit of golf? Then you'll love FootGolf. The sport's growing fan base includes a host of former English Premier League stars.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 1343 GMT (2143 HKT)
A runaway ostrich-like bird hiding near an English golf course has caused quite a stir. Some say it's dangerous, while others are cashing in.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
Eagles may be thin on the ground for most golfers at the Bear Trace course at Harrison Bay. But up in the treetops, it's a different matter.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT)
When someone tells you to go jump in a lake, sometimes it's best to take their advice. "I've never been so scared," says golfer Pablo Larrazabal.
Today's five most popular stories