SOUTHAMPTON’S Richard Bland agonisingly missed out on a second European Tour title of the season after being beaten in a play-off at the Dubai Desert Classic.

Viktor Hovland produced a stunning finish to win the event, after two-time winner Rory McIlroy blew his chances of a third title on the last hole.

Hovland covered his last three holes in four under par to force a sudden-death decider before edging out Bland on the first extra hole at Emirates Golf Club.

McIlroy had looked to have the tournament within his grasp, holding a share of the lead heading down the stretch with his closest rivals having all finished.

However, after scrambling a par following a poor tee shot at the 17th, he then found the water on the last and the resulting bogey meant he signed for a closing 71 and finished on 11 under, one behind Hovland and Bland, who went on to replay the 18th.

Hovland found the green in two on the par five and sealed victory, his first in a Rolex Series event, with a two-foot birdie putt.

Bland, despite an excellent chip onto the green, was unable to match the Norwegian’s birdie.

“This is pretty wild, I didn’t really think this was possible going into today,” Hovland told Sky Sports in an interview conducted by Bland’s coach – and TV presenter – Tim Barter.

“I knew I had to shoot a real low number but a lot of things had to go my way. I’m thankful that it did.

“I was fuming after the three-putt on 15. I felt that was it. I just had to try to finish off well and I rolled a really long one in on 16 and then, on 17, hey, we got a shot.

“I’m pumping right now. It’s a bit surreal.”

Posting on social media after the event, Bland said: “What a week #slyncDDC.

“Thank you to all for making it such a great week. Gave it everything I had down the stretch.

“Congratulations to Viktor. Thank you for all the support & messages. Love you all of you.”