FINAL ROUND LEADERBOARD:
-21 M Kaymer (Ger) -20 I Poulter (Eng) -19 R McIlroy (NI) -17 S Lowry (Ire)
Selected others: -12 S Garcia (Sp) -11 C Wood (Eng) -9 P Casey (Eng)
-2 C Montgomerie (Sco)
Kaymer celebrates winning his fifth European Tour title
Martin Kaymer pipped Ian Poulter to the Abu Dhabi Championship in a thrilling finish on the final hole.
Kaymer birdied the last to record a bogey-free 66 and seal his second Abu Dhabi title in three years.
The 25-year-old German ended up on 21 under par, just one stroke ahead of Poulter, who parred the 18th for a 66.
Rory McIlroy claimed third a shot further back while Ireland's Shane Lowry came fourth for his best European Tour finish since turning professional.
Kaymer, who went into the final day leading Poulter by a stroke, had traded blows with the Englishman throughout the last round and the pair reached the 18th tee locked on 20 under par.
The German found the centre of the fairway with his drive while Poulter pushed his tee shot left into the rough - and that mistake proved crucial.
With the green out of reach, Poulter was forced to lay up before firing his approach to within 20 feet, while Kaymer rolled his second shot to within two feet.
Poulter missed his birdie chance while Kaymer held his nerve to claim his fifth European Tour title.
"My goal for every year is to win two tournaments on the European Tour," he said. "I did it in 2008 and 2009 and I hope I can do it this year.
"But my main goal is to play the Ryder Cup this year because when I went there two years ago I really felt I want to be there one day because it is so cool.
"Even though I wasn't playing, it gave me so much experience and it helped me so much.
"My goals for the future are to have two wins on the European Tour each year, to play better in the big events and try to play the Ryder Cup.
"I've been in contention a few times already in my career over the last three years. My first win was difficult and my second win in Germany was very difficult. Now it has changed a little bit.
It's a great way to start the season in the last group and going down the last one behind
"My self-confidence is bigger than two years ago and I think it has come from playing well all around the world. I played well in the last major and I'm getting better in the World Golf Championships events."
Poulter recorded his fourth straight top-10 finish and will be named in the world's top 10 for the first time when the rankings are released on Monday.
"It's a nice start to the season," said the 34-year-old. "If you're going to take the positives out of that, I'm pretty frustrated that I've walked away from shooting that score and I haven't won.
"But it's good. I will move on next week in Qatar, have a bit of fun and see if I can go one step closer and then take two weeks off before the Match Play."
McIlroy, last year's Race to Dubai runner-up, is also on a fine run of form, with eight top-10 finishes in his last nine events.
"It's a great way to start the season in the last group and going down the last one behind and getting the juices flowing again," said the 20-year-old.
"It was a nice feeling and hopefully that will set the tone for the rest of the season."