Matthew Fitzpatrick claimed a second victory at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai with Lee Westwood winning the Harry Vardon Trophy for the third time as the 2020 Race to Dubai culminated in a dramatic afternoon at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Fitzpatrick entered the final day of the fourth Rolex Series event of the season in a share of the lead. After starting his round with four birdies he raced ahead and was on course to win the Race to Dubai for the first time, before Westwood birdied two of his last three holes to snatch solo second and the European Number One crown.
Fitzpatrick matched his fellow Englishman’s round of 68 to finish one shot ahead at 15 under par to win a first Rolex Series event and take his haul of European Tour trophies – which includes the 2016 DP World Tour Championship, Dubai title – to six.
For Westwood, a season which started with a second Rolex Series victory and his 25th on the European Tour overall at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA, ended with the 47 year old being named European Number One for the third time, 20 years after he first lifted the Harry Vardon Trophy.
The ten-time Ryder Cup star first achieved the honour in 2000, and his victory at the 2009 DP World Tour Championship, Dubai saw him crowned the inaugural winner of the Race to Dubai, the year before he went on to reach World Number One
Patrick Reed entered the week on top of the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex and remained there for much of the day but bogeys on the 16th and 17th saw him finish in a tie for third at 13 under par and just one shot away from being the first American to take Europe’s season long honours.
Norwegian Viktor Hovland finished alongside Reed in third place, one shot clear of Finn Sami Välimäki and England’s Laurie Canter, with Frenchman Victor Perez at ten under.
Lee Westwood: “I went out trying to win the tournament. That was the best and the simplest thing to try and do. There’s so many sort of permutations that can go on on a day like today. It can all get too confusing if you let it. You might as well just go out there and shoot as low a score as you can on each individual hole. I figured I needed to finish 15-under to win the tournament. Not really any thoughts of The Race to Dubai until I got into the scoring tent afterwards and looked at it all and realised I’ve still got a chance.
“The motivation’s never changed, really. I get to get up each day and do the job I love. I’ve always wanted to be a golfer, and I don’t want it to end. So I’m prepared to keep working hard and put myself in the line of fire and try and get into contention in tournaments. It’s where I’m most comfortable and what I love doing.
“They have all been very different. I guess 2000, I was winning a lot, but I was still up-and-coming. It was only my seventh year on Tour. 2009, I was honing in on the best player in the world spot, and I needed to win here to win The Race to Dubai, and I managed to do that. And then this one, I’m kind of the more mature player on The European Tour now. It wasn’t something I set out to do at the start of the year, but it shows the consistency I’ve shown. The most satisfying thing is doing it under pressure when it matters.”
Matt Fitzpatrick: “The start I got off to, four birdies in the first four, five under through seven, it’s a dream start. Fortunately I managed to pull away from that and really sort of create some distance.
“It was just obviously a bit of a grind on the back nine. For me it was just about finishing one hole at a time and just getting through it. So managed to do that and yeah, finished well.
“I knew where I started the week a lot needed to go my way. When I saw Lee at second, it did enter my head briefly going to 18, even if I win, it’s probably not going to be enough, anyway. I turned up obviously 16th, so first Race to Dubai didn’t really enter my head if I’m honest. I just wanted to win a lot this week.
“It’s one of those few weeks in your probably career, where you’re like, it feels really good and I’m playing really well, and you go and win. You can play poorly and win and sometimes you can play amazing and lose. To me this is a week in all honesty I felt I’m playing really well and I managed to convert it.”