Jon Rahm carded a closing 67 to win the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai as a late slip from Justin Rose on the last hole handed Tommy Fleetwood the Race to Dubai title. Rose had looked on course to claim both the last event of the season and the Race to Dubai title as he turned in 32 at Jumeirah Golf Estate. But three bogeys on the back nine brought him back to the pack, opening the door for Rahm playing the back nine in 33 to get to 19 under and win his second Rolex Series title. Shane Lowry (10 birdies for 63) and Kiradech Aphibarnrat finished a shot behind at 18 under, one clear of Rose, Burmester, Frittelli and Garcia.
Rose slipping back into a tie for fourth, he couldn’t overturn Fleetwood’s advantage in the Race to Dubai Rankings even though Fleetwood signed for a closing 74 to finish in a tie for 21st. The margins were so tight in the season-long battle that had Rose finished one shot better he would have won the Race to Dubai, while a birdie rather than a bogey on the last and a play-off win over Rahm would have seen Garcia take the crown. In the end, Garcia slipped to fourth in the Rankings as he was overtaken by countryman Rahm, with Rose finishing second behind fellow Englishman Fleetwood. Both Rose and Garcia will be playing the coming Hong Kong Open.
“It’s hard to sum it up,” said Rahm. “I could not be more proud of what I’ve done this week. Actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, is really special. I didn’t plan on being here at the beginning of the year and I sure didn’t plan on winning it so it’s an incredible feeling.”
The 2017 European Tour season is now over. The 2018 calendar opens at the Hong Kong Open on November 23rd with some key changes. The main one is a return to the top 110 players retaining their cards on the Race to Dubai Rankings at the end of the 2018 season, as opposed to the top 100 this year. This takes into account the discontinuation of the Access List in 2018, a ranking which was designed to help lower ranked members. It ran concurrently with the Race to Dubai this year but excluded earnings from the Rolex Series events, the World Golf Championship events, the Masters and the US PGA Championship.
The move has come following a study of statistics which has shown that access into the Rolex Series events for the Challenge Tour graduates and the graduates at the top end of the Qualifying School was actually better than anticipated in 2017. With the Italian Open becoming a full field event next season, due to the switch of date from October to June, and with some otherwise allocated spots now returning to the Exemption Category system, this access is expected to be at least as good if not better in 2018. ETC/pph