Race to Dubai: Lee Westwood seals title as Matthew Fitzpatrick wins DP World Tour Championship


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Lee Westwood with former caddie Billy Foster
Westwood got a hug off his former caddie Billy Foster, who is now on the bag of Fitzpatrick

Lee Westwood has won a third Race to Dubai title after an extraordinary finish to the European Tour season at the DP World Tour Championship.

Matthew Fitzpatrick won the event on 15 under but Englishman Westwood was second on his own to claim the season-long title, 20 years after his first.

In the end, it was a double-bogey by Laurie Canter on the 17th that handed 47-year-old Westwood the prize.

Patrick Reed, who led the standings at the start of the week, finished third.

The 2018 Masters champion, who was trying to become the first American to win the title of Europe’s top golfer, holed three chips for birdies but also had four bogeys in a scrappy two-under-par final round that saw him finish on 13 under.

Fitzpatrick needed to win the tournament then hope Westwood finished no higher than joint third and Reed joint fourth to win the Race to Dubai.

“It was just a grind. I wanted to win for my family, all the hard work they put in supporting me on and off the course,” said Fitzpatrick, who finished with a four-under-par 68 to claim his second DP World Tour Championship title, having also won in 2016.

“It was just trying to make pars, not losing ground. It was a bit up and down on the back nine, but it was just about staying in it and maintaining the lead I built early on.”

The 26-year-old started quickly with four straight birdies to open up a three-shot lead. Reed kept in contention though, chipping in for birdie on the seventh as the Race to Dubai lead fluctuated between the pair, with Westwood never really threatening.

Westwood, who won his second European money prize in the inaugural Race to Dubai season in 2009, looked to have blown his chances when he bogeyed the par-five 14th – but two birdies in his final three holes saw him sign for a four-under-par 68 and set the clubhouse lead on 14 under.

He still required help from Canter and his unfortunate compatriot fluffed a chip shot on the par-three 17th and walked off with a five, which was enough to propel Westwood up to second on his own.

Canter then needed to eagle the par-five last to snatch the Race to Dubai title from Westwood and hand it back to Fitzpatrick, but a wayward second shot ended those hopes.

It meant Westwood pipped Fitzpatrick to the Harry Vardon Trophy by just 17.8 points and become the oldest winner – Colin Montgomerie was 42 when he won the last of his eight titles in 2005.

“It’s been a bizarre season for so many reasons,” Westwood said on Sky Sports. “The European Tour have done an incredible job to pick the season up again from July and have tournaments on every week.

“It’s been 20 years since I sat there at Valderrama to win the Order of Merit, as it was then. It’s not getting any easier, I am not getting any younger. I had a bit of a back problem and it nearly cost me this week – on Monday I didn’t know if I was going to play.

“I am just enjoying playing golf against these great young players – these kids are so good now. Matt feels like he has been out here for years but is still in his mid-20s and finished like a pro there.”

You can watch highlights of the DP World Tour Championship on BBC Two at 18:10 GMT.

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