FINAL ROUND LEADERBOARD:
-11 MA Jimenez (Spa), L Westwood (Eng) (Jimenez won at third extra hole) -10 T Jaidee (Tha) -9 E Molinari (Ita), M Kaymer (Ger) -8 A Quiros (Sp), R McIlroy (NI) Selected others: -6 T Watson (US) -5 P Casey (Eng)
Jimenez holed a left to right putt from six feet to win his 16th European Tour title
Miguel Angel Jimenez eclipsed European number one Lee Westwood in a play-off to capture the Dubai Desert Classic.
The pair began the final day tied with Thongchai Jaidee and Alvaro Quiros and shot level par 72's in the final round.
Jaidee dropped three early shots and Quiros squandered the lead after three late bogeys, while Westwood birdied the 72nd to tie with Jimenez at 11-under.
Westwood had two chances to win in the play-off before Jimenez triumphed with a par at the third extra hole.
In previous years the colourful 46-year-old Spaniard had twice led the Dubai flagship event after 54 holes without going on to win.
Westwood looked certain to triumph at the first play-off hole after clearing the water and finishing in the rough pin-high in two, while Jimenez, having laid up short, pitched agonisingly close to the lake.
The Spaniard was able to chip up and save par, however, after Westwood had seen a 10-foot putt for victory drift past the left edge.
Then at the second extra hole, Jimenez found a difficult lie in the rough and could only advance the ball with an eight-iron.
His third shot then went through the green into the bunker, while Westwood was safely over the water again in two with a decent lie in fluffy greenside rough.
Westwood's chip was indifferent, finishing about 12 feet short but Jimenez splashed his bunker shot almost as far beyond the cup.
The Englishman's curling putt finished shy of the hole and Jimenez rattled in a brave putt to take the play-off to the 463-yard par-four ninth.
With the sun beginning to fade and the temperatures dropping, Westwood's approach was perilously close to the water jutting in to the corner of the green, while Jimenez was in tangly rough short of the flag.
The referee was required to rule on who would putt first after the chip shots, but it was Westwood, whose putt drifted to the left.
That allowed Jimenez, who missed the cut in his first appearance in the run of Dubai tournaments this year, to hole a left to right putt from six feet and clinch his 16th European Tour title, his first since the 2008 PGA Championship at Wentworth.
Westwood missed two chances to seal victory
The lead had changed hands several times around the turn but big-hitting Spaniard Quiros was in prime position to land his fourth Tour title before he three-putted three greens in succession.
Jimenez moved ahead with a birdie at the 17th following a majestic pitch to within a foot.
At the 72nd hole he laid up short of the water and pitched to about 10 feet left of the flag, but the putt that would have won the title in regulation holes stayed out.
Playing partner Jaidee, having fired in a fine approach, completely missed the hole from less than five feet with his attempt to force a play-off.
Then in the final group Westwood, having finished pin high on the apron to the left, putted up superbly to within a few inches to force the play-off, the first two holes of which were back at the 18th.
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy, bidding the become the first player to retain the title in the 21-year history of the tournament, dropped two shots on each nine and his 73 left in tied for sixth.
And 60-year-old Tom Watson matched his lowest round of the day with a 68 featuring four birdies on the back nine to earn a share of eighth place in his first tournament in Dubai.
Jimenez, known for his love of the finer things in life, said: "I am like the good wines, with age, they get better and better.
"All through the week I have been playing very well, strong on the golf course, strong mind and with good support from my caddie."