Dec 14th, 2020
Westwood and Fitzpatrick share spoils in Dubai
Thrilling climax to Race to Dubai produces fairytale result
Photography: Getty Images
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.
"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," said Fitzpatrick.
"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."
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.
"I went out trying to win the tournament. That was the best and the simplest thing to try and do. There are so many sorts of permutations that can go on on a day like today. It can all get too confusing if you let it," said Westwood.
"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."
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.