Lee Westwood Wins Race To Dubai: Matt Fitzpatrick Wins DP Tour Championship while Westwood tops season money listings.
Fitzpatrick pulled off a surprise win as overnight leader Patrick Reed fell away in the closing holes. The young twenty-six-year-old won three million in prize money to top off a good year.
American Patrick Reed went into the event leading the Race To Dubai standings. He led the final tournament for the first three days and most of the last day.
Unfortunately, bogies then followed in the closing holes meant he finished two adrift of Fitzpatrick.The Englishman finished on fifteen under par after shooting a sixty-eight with a par needed on eighteen to win.
Lee Westwood finished in second place with fourteen under with Reed and Hovland in third on thirteen under.
Lone second place was enough for Westwood as he secured his third order of merit prize, the Harry Vardon trophy. However, this almost didn’t come to be as Laurie Canter nearly finished in a tie for second with Westwood.
This ultimately would have left Fitzpatrick, top of the money listings. Birdies for Westwood on sixteen and eighteen propelled him into sole second. However, Canter then double-bogeyed seventeen and failed to eagle the par-five last to tie Westwood.
For Fitzpatrick, to win the Race To Dubai would have needed Westwood to finish no higher than third. Speaking to Sky Sports the young Fitzpatrick said post-round:
“It was just a grind. I wanted to win for my family, all the hard work they put in supporting me on and off the course,”
It was just trying to make pars, not losing ground. It was a bit up and down on the back nine, but it was just about staying in it and maintaining the lead I built early on.”
Reed’s Missed Chance
For the American losing the DP Tour Championship was a devastating blow. The Texan had led the event for the first three days and most of the last day.
Reed had been top of the Race To Dubai money listings for most of the season. He came into this week with a four-hundred-and-twenty-point lead.
Had he won; he would have become the first American player to win the order of Merit. This would have given the American the European Tour player of the year title. If so, where did it all go wrong?
Reed had his history-making chances slashed after he stumbled home through the last few holes. Bogeys on sixteen and seventeen derailed the thirty-year-olds round.
He was able to rescue a top-five finish with a birdie on the last with a chip in. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough as Fitzpatrick made his charge on the back nine and couldn’t be caught.
Reed lost out by two shots in what was disappointing circumstances for him. Reed has addressed that perhaps his long game could have been his downfall. Having been in the ascendency the first two days he struggled with his game in round three.
The thirty-year-old limped in with a seventy-one round three and seventy in the final round. Earlier in the build-up of the event, Reed stated he was currently working on his long game that’s plagued him this season.
Reed stated that he was training hard with coach Sean Hogan on some swing changes. But could this have been his ultimate downfall?
Fitzpatrick’s Win But Lees’ Day
Now at the age of forty-seven, this win makes the Englishman the oldest winner of the Race to Dubai by five years. This win broke the record previously held by Scot Colin Montgomery who won at forty-two in 2005.
Westwood just edged Fitzpatrick to the Vardon trophy by 17.2 points on the money listings. The forty-seven-year-old reacted to interviewers at Sky after the win:
“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.
“It’s been 20 years since I sat there at Valderrama to win the Order of Merit, as it was then. It’s not getting any easier, I am not getting any younger. I had a bit of a back problem and it nearly cost me this week – on Monday I didn’t know if I was going to play.
“I am just enjoying playing golf against these great young players – these kids are so good now. Matt feels like he has been out here for years but is still in his mid-20s and finished like a pro there.”
Westwood ends his week with a cool two-million-euro bonus after winning the Race to Dubai.
This week proved to be England’s, with Fitzpatrick, and Westwood amongst the silverware.
Read our other articles on everything Golf, keeping you up to date at Sports News Ireland.
Click here for more.