DUBAI (AFP) – Veteran Englishman Lee Westwood secured his second Race to Dubai title and finished top European golfer for the third time, as Matt Fitzpatrick secured the DP World Tour Championship on Sunday (Dec 13).
Fitzpatrick entered the final day on the Earth Course in Dubai sharing the lead with Patrick Reed, who was vying to become the first American to win the Race to Dubai.
After starting his round with four birdies, Fitzpatrick held a commanding lead and was on course to win the Race to Dubai.
Westwood, however, birdied two of his last three holes to finish with a final round 68 which was good enough to snatch solo second and be crowned European No. 1.
“It’s been a bizarre season for so many reasons, the European Tour have done an incredible job to pick the season up again from July and have tournaments on every week,” said the 47-year-old.
“The culmination of it all here, it was a great finish. Thrills and spills, the Race to Dubai up for grabs and the tournament up for grabs.”
Fitzpatrick matched his four-under 68 to finish at 15-under 273, one shot clear of his fellow Englishman at the top of the leaderboard, and win his first Rolex Series title but not good enough to win the Race to Dubai.
Westwood won the European Tour Order of Merit in 2000 but within three years he was outside the top 250 in the official rankings before mounting one of the game’s great comebacks.
His victory at the 2009 World Tour Championship, Dubai saw him crowned the inaugural winner of the Race to Dubai and the following year he completed his incredible recovery by rising to world No. 1.
“It’s been 20 years since I sat there at Valderrama, to win the Order of Merit as it was then,” said Westwood.
“It’s not getting any easier, I am not getting any younger. I am just enjoying playing golf against these great young players – these kids are so good now.”
Reed entered the week on top of the Race to Dubai rankings and remained there for much of the day but bogeys on the 16th and 17th saw him finish one shot behind Westwood at 13 under.