Fleetwood wins race to Dubai as Rose wilts

Needing to finish alone in fourth after Tommy's 74, Justin blows his back nine

DUBAI • Tommy Fleetwood capitalised on a poor back nine from fellow Briton Justin Rose to be crowned the Race to Dubai winner on the final day of the European Tour season yesterday.

A win at the DP World Tour Championship by points leader Fleetwood or second-placed Rose would have guaranteed either of the two golfers the money title and a US$1.25 million (S$1.7 million) bonus.

As it turned out, with Fleetwood sitting in the clubhouse after a scrappy final round of 74 and 11-under 277 total, Rose needed to finish alone in fourth to take the title.

Rose looked in complete control and was cruising at three under for the day after 11 holes, but he bogeyed three of the next five to slip down the leaderboard.

Yet it still went to the wire - and if Rose had holed from the front fringe for eagle at the 72nd and final hole, he would have snatched the Dubai title.

It was not to be, however, as his putt drifted left of the hole, meaning Fleetwood took home the glory, with Rose (70) finishing in a four-way tie for fourth on 271.

Tommy Fleetwood with his partner Clare Craig and their son Franklin, after winning the Race to Dubai trophy at the end of the DP World Tour Golf Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai yesterday.
Tommy Fleetwood with his partner Clare Craig and their son Franklin, after winning the Race to Dubai trophy at the end of the DP World Tour Golf Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai yesterday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

"It's amazing. You start the season in November/December and you are watching the last shot of the season to see who wins," Fleetwood said on BBC Sport.

"I didn't play how I wanted to today. It wasn't pretty. From 11 and 12 onwards, it was difficult not to think about what Justin was doing.

"I made some great pars on 15 and 16 and it's always difficult because it really was out of my control and down the last few holes I just had to keep it in and try and do the best I could.

"You want the grandstand finish, you want to do something amazing to win it, but it doesn't always work out that way and a year's graft has come down to this.

"But (still) it's very special."

For Rose, he had no answers to his poor performance on the back nine but was gracious in defeat.

AMAZING RACE

You want the grandstand finish, you want to do something amazing to win it, but it doesn't always work out that way and a year's graft has come down to this, But (still) it's very special.

TOMMY FLEETWOOD , who had sat in the clubhouse after a scrappy final round of 74 and 11-under 277 total, on winning the Race to Dubai at the very last hole.

"I felt like I was in complete control until the 12th hole, then I kind of hit the buffers," Rose said on golfweek.com.

"I don't know where it went wrong on the back nine.

"I'm happy for Tommy. He's battled hard all year. It's good for him to finish it off."

The US$8 million season finale at Jumeirah Golf Estates was won by Spain's Jon Rahm.

He followed his impressive round of 65 on day three with a 67 yesterday to become the only multiple winner of a Rolex Series tournament this season.

SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS

I don't know where it went wrong on the back nine. I'm happy for Tommy. He's battled hard all year. It's good for him to finish it off.

JUSTIN ROSE , who had no answers for his poor performance on the back nine but was gracious in defeat.

He finished with a one-shot advantage at 19-under 269 over Ireland's Shane Lowry (63) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67).

"It's hard to sum it up," said Rahm. "An incredible week, I could not be more proud of what I've done this week.

"Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under in the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special.

"I didn't plan on being here at the beginning of the year and I sure didn't plan on winning it, so it's an incredible feeling."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2017, with the headline 'Fleetwood wins race to Dubai as Rose wilts'. Print Edition | Subscribe