Rahm holds off fast-finishing Fleetwood to claim Race to Dubai title

Shane Lowry picks up €545k bonus as he finishes season in career-best fourth position

Spain’s  Jon Rahm  celebrates with the Race to Dubai Trophy after the final round of DP World Tour Championship  at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. Photograph: Ali Haider/EPA

Spain’s Jon Rahm celebrates with the Race to Dubai Trophy after the final round of DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. Photograph: Ali Haider/EPA

 

Jon Rahm has made a habit of striding into the spotlight on the big stage, and the Spaniard capped off a marvellous season with victory in the DP World Tour Championship on The Earth course in Dubai to scoop a €4.5million jackpot: claiming the €2.7 million winner’s cheque for the tournament itself and also a €1.8 million bonus for the Race to Dubai order of merit title.

While the 25-year-old Spaniard was the big winner of the season’s finale, adding thee title to the DDF Irish Open and Spanish Open successes of this year, Shane Lowry too had reason to celebrate an outstanding season’s work. He didn’t have his A game with him in the desert, but a tied-12th finish was sufficient to ensure that he claimed a career-best fourth place finish in the order of merit, earning him a bonus prize of €545,000.

“I got off to a pretty bad start on Thursday [with a round of 73]. Some weeks you have it and some don’t and you have to play with what you have– this was one of those weeks. Two 70s over the weekend, felt I had to work hard for them,” said Lowry, who closed with a 70 for 281, all of 12 strokes behind Rahm.

At one stage of the final round, Rahm had six strokes to spare over his nearest challenger and, as he neared the end of the road, some errors from him and some brilliance from others, notably Tommy Fleetwood who birdied three of his closing four holes, ensured it all came down to the final hole. A birdie four on the 18th for a 68 for a 19-under-par total of 269 gave him a one-shot winning margin over Fleetwood, with Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera a further stroke adrift in solo third.

For Rory McIlroy, it proved to be a disappointing final round. The Northern Irishman had three bogeys and two birdies in a 73 for 276 to finish in fourth place. “I’ll look back at 2019 very fondly. There’s been a lot of good golf played, probably some of my most consistent golf,” said McIlroy. “You know, four wins, I guess this is the 19th Top-10 . . . it’s been a learning year, as well. I learned some things that I want to take forward into next year, as well, but first and foremost, I’m looking forward to a couple of months off and reflect on everything and get myself ready for next year,” said McIlroy.

Spain’s Jon Rahm celebrates after winning the Dubai DP World Tour Championship. Photograph: Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images
Spain’s Jon Rahm celebrates after winning the Dubai DP World Tour Championship. Photograph: Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images

Rahm had raced into the lead with a birdie blitz early in his round, with birdies at the first and second and then a hat-trick of birdies from the fifth. But just as it seemed he would run away from the field, a pulled tee-shot on the eighth, when his ball finished in bush, led to a bogey and a three-putt bogey on the ninth followed.

By the time he got to the 18th tee, Rahm was level with clubhouse leader Fleetwood but the Spaniard got the birdie he needed on the closing hole to edge back in front at the most important time of all.

“I feel like I’ve had two different days completely,” acknowledged Rahm. “Those first seven holes, I felt like I couldn’t miss a shot. Felt really, really confident, as it showed, everything was rolling. Putting was unbelievable. Then just one errant tee shot and a three-putt kind of took everything a turn for the worst.

“Even I kind of kept myself there with a birdie on 10 and a birdie 14, I still made some mistakes. It would have been a very different day if I don’t three-putt nine and 15, and unfortunately for me it happened, and it made me prove myself and kind of show some more determination and grit and heart just to win.”

Of becoming the first Spaniard since Seve Ballesteros to win the order of merit, Rahm – in just his third season as a professional – conceded: “It’s really so hard to believe that some of the greatest champions in European golf and Spanish golf haven’t been able to accomplish what I have in just three years. That’s what I can’t really put my mind into.

“Sergio [Garcia] has been a great Spanish champion for years, Major winner. Ollie [Jose Maria Olazabal], two-time Major championship winner. Miguel Ángel [Jiménez] has done a great job, as well. Alvaro Quiros has won this event, as well. So many great players throughout the history of Spain that have had a chance and they didn’t get it done. It’s just hard to put that in perspective to know that since Seve, I’m the next one to get it done.I mean, I can put the words, but it just doesn’t feel like it’s true. It’s hard to believe.”

Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre claimed the Rookie of the Year, finishing 11th on the order of merit in his debut season on the main tour.

FINAL LEADERBOARD
British and Irish unless stated, par 72

269 Jon Rahm (Esp) 66 69 66 68

270 Tommy Fleetwood 67 68 70 65

271 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 63 69 69 70

276 Rory McIlroy 64 74 65 73

277 Danny Willett 69 72 67 69

278 Sergio Garcia (Esp) 71 73 67 67, Tom Lewis 67 70 73 68, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 70 68 68 72

279 Matthew Fitzpatrick 71 71 68 69

280 Jason Scrivener (Aus) 71 72 72 65, Andy Sullivan 70 74 67 69

281 Shane Lowry 73 68 70 70, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 71 67 70 73

282 Paul Waring 71 77 68 66, Robert Macintyre 71 74 68 69

283 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 68 71 68 76, Guido Migliozzi (Ita) 73 70 68 72

284 Paul Casey 73 73 66 72, Jorge Campillo (Esp) 73 72 69 70

285 Joost Luiten (Ned) 74 71 68 72, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 70 70 73 72, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 69 73 70 73, Justin Rose 69 70 73 73, Victor Perez (Fra) 73 73 72 67, David Lipsky (USA) 72 71 71 71, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 68 73 74 70, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 71 72 71 71

286 Adri Arnaus (Esp) 70 70 72 74, Matt Wallace 70 74 69 73, Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 72 76 70 68, Matthew Southgate 75 71 70 70, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 71 72 73 70, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 70 71 73 72, Thomas Detry (Bel) 69 71 71 75, Patrick Reed (USA) 74 68 72 72

287 Joachim B. Hansen (Den) 74 73 68 72, Justin Harding (Rsa) 73 73 70 71

288 Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 70 74 73 71, Lee Westwood 73 70 74 71

289 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 69 76 71 73, Romain Langasque (Fra) 71 74 71 73, Aaron Rai 75 69 76 69

290 Haotong Li (Chn) 69 77 74 70

291 Ian Poulter 74 76 70 71, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 74 70 77 70

292 Tyrrell Hatton 73 79 69 71

293 Jordan Smith 74 73 70 76

296 Kurt Kitayama (USA) 71 75 77 73

297 Scott Hend (Aus) 76 75 73 73, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 77 74 71 75

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.