The pair were tied heading down the 18th, a position the Irishman would have taken from earlier in the round as the South African chased down the overnight deficit to lead by four.
But Lowry held his nerve, driving beautifully down the last and pulling off a sensational approach with two putts for a birdie to secure his fourth European Tour title.
It was Lowry’s first win since the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, finishing on 18 under par, with the manner of the victory especially pleasing the 31-year-old.
”I completely thought I was gone,” Lowry said. “I didn’t think I had that in me today.
“How hard I fought for that. It has been a tough couple of years on the course.”
It was the European Tour’s first Rolex Series event of 2019, with Joost Luiten three back in third and Louis Oosthuizen one further back in fourth.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour)
The tour moves on to the Dubai Desert Classic next week, held at the Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club.