Rory McIlroy frustrated in Dubai as Collin Morikawa surges to title

American birdied five of the last seven holes while McIlroy faltered on 15th and 16th

Collin Morikawa after holing out at the 18th green to win the DP World Tour Championship and the Race to Dubai. Photo: Luke Walker/Getty Images

Collin Morikawa after holing out at the 18th green to win the DP World Tour Championship and the Race to Dubai. Photo: Luke Walker/Getty Images

 

Rory McIlroy’s frustrations boiled over after British Open champion Collin Morikawa became the first American to win the Race to Dubai in emphatic style with victory in the DP World Tour Championship.

Morikawa carded a closing 66 at Jumeirah Golf Estates to finish 17 under par, three shots clear of defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick and Sweden’s Alexander Bjork.

McIlroy held a two-shot lead when he birdied the second but eventually slipped to a tie for a sixth with a disappointing 74, the Holywood man appearing to rip his shirt open in the recording area behind the 18th green.

McIlroy appeared to rip his shirt in the scoring tent. Photo: golfbytourmiss.com
McIlroy appeared to rip his shirt in the scoring tent. Photo: golfbytourmiss.com

McIlroy had suffered a cruel piece of bad luck on the 15th and played his last four holes in three over par, but Morikawa was a deserving champion as he birdied five of his last seven holes to secure the first prize of €2.6million.

“It’s really special,” said the two-time Major winner, who only turned professional in June 2019. “It’s an honour to be the first American to win the Race to Dubai and to put my name on there with so many greats.

“Two years ago it wasn’t in my thoughts. It was, yeah, let’s go play around the world, but we didn’t know what the cards were going to be dealt.

“To have this chance and close it out, and not just closing it out with a top 10 or something, but to actually win the DP World Tour Championship, which concluded the Race to Dubai, what a great way to finish.”

Fitzpatrick needed to defend his title and for Morikawa to finish worse than ninth to win the Race to Dubai and that looked possible when the Englishman recorded his seventh birdie of the day on the 15th to take the lead.

Playing five groups behind, Morikawa was in a tie for sixth at the time but as Fitzpatrick stumbled with bogeys on the 16th and 17th, the American birdied the 12th, 14th and 15th to join McIlroy at the top of the leaderboard.

A 321-yard drive on the 15th left McIlroy with just 36 yards to the hole, but the former world number one saw his pitch clatter into the flagstick and rebound into a bunker.

McIlroy was unable to get up and down for par to leave Morikawa out in front for the first time and the world number two quickly pressed home his advantage with birdies on the 17th and 18th to secure the title.

Shane Lowry started the day well with birdies on the first and third to get within one of McIlroy’s lead but, again, it was the stretch around the turn that cost the Offalyman.

After a bogey at the fifth Lowry then double bogeyed the ninth after finding trouble down the left with his approach. That saw him slip down the leaderboard and eight pars in a row and the birdie on the last resulted in a final round of 72 and a total of 11 under par for a tied-ninth finish.

“I’d be lying to you if I said I was not watching what Matt Fitzpatrick was doing and boy did he put up a run,” Morikawa said. “He came out firing and was near the lead but it’s 18 holes and all I needed was to catch a spark.

“When I made the turn I knew I was three back at that point but I was able to make birdie on 12, a very tough hole, and just seeing those couple of good shots, seeing that putt go in, just kind of propelled what was to come.”

Rory McIlroy dejected on the 18th green. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy dejected on the 18th green. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

A fourth win of the year in the Hero World Challenge in a fortnight’s time would see Morikawa overtake world number one Jon Rahm for one week only, but the 24-year-old is determined to secure a much longer stay at the summit.

“I’m going to set some high goals, I always have,” he added. “I’m going to set the bar as high as I can get and keep going.

“I’m still not number one in the world. I still have a lot to work on in my game. Obviously this week was good. I still thought I wasn’t playing amazing, but I made do.

“So I still think there’s a ton to work on. That’s just kind of the nature of how my mind works and how I work — I just want more.

“I know I’m going to enjoy this one a lot, especially since it’s at the end of the year, but there’s a lot more from me hopefully.”

DP World Tour Championship final leaderboard (British unless stated, Par 72)

271 Collin Morikawa (USA) 68 68 69 66

274 Matthew Fitzpatrick 70 69 69 66, Alexander Bjoerk (Swe) 68 67 69 70

275 Nicolai Hoejgaard (Den) 68 71 69 67, Robert MacIntyre 68 69 67 71

276 Dean Burmester (Rsa) 69 69 69 69, Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 65 70 67 74, Ian Poulter 73 69 67 67

277 Joachim B. Hansen (Den) 67 70 68 72, Paul Casey 70 69 70 68, Shane Lowry (Irl) 69 65 71 72, Adria Arnaus (Spa) 75 68 68 66, John Catlin (USA) 69 65 71 72, Sam Horsfield 68 66 69 74

278 Thomas Pieters (Bel) 73 66 70 69

279 Tyrrell Hatton 70 73 66 70, Min-Woo Lee (Aus) 72 69 69 69, Grant Forrest 70 70 72 67, Marcus Armitage 68 72 67 72, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 68 69 74 68

280 Jason Scrivener (Aus) 71 69 70 70, Lucas Herbert (Aus) 72 69 70 69, Thomas Detry (Bel) 69 70 72 69, Garrick Higgo (Rsa) 73 69 71 67, Johannes Veerman (USA) 68 72 67 73, Jeff Winther (Den) 70 69 69 72

281 Abraham Ancer (Mex) 72 69 70 70, Tommy Fleetwood 70 72 69 70, Laurie Canter 74 71 68 68, Rasmus Hoejgaard (Den) 70 69 69 73, Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 70 71 70 70

282 Billy Horschel (USA) 74 70 69 69, Adrian Meronk (Pol) 68 74 74 66, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 67 75 70 70, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 68 68 70 76, Patrick Reed (USA) 72 72 68 70

283 Will Zalatoris (USA) 70 73 70 70, Guido Migliozzi (Ita) 73 73 70 67

284 Danny Willett 75 71 67 71, Rafael Cabrera (Spa) 70 70 71 73, Jamie Donaldson 70 68 74 72, Antoine Rozner (Fra) 74 70 68 72, Sean Crocker (USA) 69 73 72 70

285 Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 70 70 73 72

286 Richard Bland 73 69 71 73

287 Francesco Laporta (Ita) 71 74 72 70, Victor Perez (Fra) 74 69 69 75

288 Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn) 74 73 68 73

290 Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 76 76 75 63

291 Justin Harding (Rsa) 71 72 71 77

292 James Morrison 71 74 73 74

293 Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 67 74 76 76

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