Tommy Fleetwood won the 2017 Race To Dubai title as the top points scorer on the European Tour after a dramatic final day at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Heading into DP World Tour Championship, the scenarios were simple. Points leader Fleetwood just needed to match the performances of Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia, the only two men who could deny him. Rose needed to win or finish 2nd to anyone other than Fleetwood, or finish in the top five and rely on his fellow Englishman ending down the field. Garcia, meanwhile, needed to win and hope Fleetwood finished outside of the top 20 and Rose ended tied fifth or worse.
Tommy Fleetwood wins Race to Dubai
It was a dramatic four days with Rose—who won the European Tour Order of Merit in 2007 and who surged into contention this year after winning his final two events leading into Dubai (the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open)—looking the most likely winner of the Race To Dubai.
A third round 65 at the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates on Saturday left it very much in his hands and few would have bet against him not being crowned champion—and winning the DP World Tour Championship too—when he still led the field after 11 holes of the final round.
But bogeys on the 12th, 14th and 16th holes meant Rose needed an eagle on the final hole to win the Race To Dubai. He could only manage a birdie and the title was Fleetwood’s, with Garcia’s final round 65 only enough to see him finish fourth overall to sign off a year in which he broke his major drought when he won the Masters Tournament at Augusta.
A good year for Fleetwood
Fleetwood, who played 24 events on the European Tour’s Race To Dubai this year—12 more than Rose and 11 more than Garcia—led the standings for much of the year having won in Abu Dhabi in January.
Fleetwood, who became only the sixth player to win the Race To Dubai title after Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy (three times) and Henrik Stenson (twice), carded a final round 74 but his tied 21st result was enough to hold off Rose.
“It wasn’t pretty today, I didn’t play how I’d like to and it just showed how tough golf is,” Fleetwood said afterwards. “From 11 and 12 onwards it was difficult not to think about what Justin was doing.
“He played amazing for three-and-half days and that back nine showed golf can be a tough and unfair game, but I’ll say it for a while that Race To Dubai champion is very, very cool.
“It’s been a big year, baby Frankie arriving safely and he’s great, I’m going to get married in a couple of weeks. It has been the best year of my life by an absolute mile.
“On the course has been great, I’ve played some of the best golf of my career and done things that I’ve never done before. Off the course, I’m just such a happy person so we’ll have to think of ways to better this one.”