Rickie Fowler poses with the winning trophy after claiming the Abu Dhabi Championship.

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Rickie Fowler wins Abu Dhabi Championship

Rises to No.4 in world

Beats Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy

CNN  — 

Rickie Fowler came out on top in the first big golfing showdown of 2016 and immediately set his sights on claiming his first major.

The 27-year-old American claimed the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship Sunday, withstanding late charges from Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson and Belgium’s rising prospect Thomas Pieters.

The star-studded field at the European Tour even also included world number one Jordan Spieth, who finished tied for fifth.

Fowler rises from sixth to fourth in the rankings, but is anxious to break into the top three of Spieth, Australia’s Jason Day, and McIlroy.

“I’d like to jump in and be a part of that crew and see if we can continue to win some majors if I can jump in there,” he told the official European Tour website.

“The goal right now with where my game’s at, the best it’s been this early in the season in my career, I’m working on getting ready for Augusta. And I’d like to have my shot at getting the Green Jacket there.

“The ultimate goal this year is to go win a Major and this is a step in the right direction for sure.”

The omens are good for the crowd pleasing Fowler after keeping his nerve on the final day for his second European Tour win after claiming the Scottish Open last year.

He took a three-shot lead into the last nine holes, but came under pressure as McIlroy came home in 31 with an eagle at the last and Stenson joined him in the clubhouse on 14-under.

Fowler held a two-shot lead over the pair and playing partner Pieters playing the par-five 18th but stayed out of trouble to make a five to close on 16-under 272.

Pieters, would have forced a playoff with an eagle, but had to settle for a birdie to finish a shot back in second place.

“It was a lot of fun today. It was a bit stressful at times. Thomas is playing well. It’s fun to kind of go head-to-head with him being in the same group. We had a good time.

“It’s nice to come out on top this week,” Fowler added.

Spieth, who was unable to recapture the form which saw him claim the Tournament of Champions on the PGA Tour earlier this month, closed with a four-under 68 to join a big group on 11-under

England’s Ian Poulter had looked to be the biggest challenger to Fowler on the final day as he moved menacingly to 12-under, but three bogeys on the back nine saw him slip back to finish seven shots off the pace.

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