November 20, 2016
Henrik Stenson won the Race to Dubai title for the second time in four years on Sunday, and Matthew Fitzpatrick claimed the biggest victory of his short career at the World Tour Championship.
Fourth-ranked Stenson shot 7-under 65 in the final round on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates to stay ahead of his rivals in the year-long race. The Swede earned a bonus of $1.25 million as the European Tour's top player.
The 40-year-old Stenson, who also won the Race to Dubai in 2013, ended Sunday on 12-under 276 in a four-way tie for ninth, which included Rory McIlroy (65).
''I've always thought it was going to be hard to top 2013, but I think I've done that this year,'' said British Open champion Stenson. ''Maybe not to the level of golf over six months, but certainly with the highlights of winning the Open, (silver at) the Olympics and taking the Race to Dubai again.''
Stenson's closest rival in the Race to Dubai, Masters champion Danny Willett, remained second after finishing tied 50th in the tournament with a 70, some 11 shots adrift of Stenson.
Fitzpatrick, who earned his card exactly two years ago, shot 5-under 67 to finish on 17-under 271. The 22-year-old Englishman finished one stroke ahead of compatriot Tyrrell Hatton (68), who had a bogey on the final hole after his tee shot trickled into the stream that bisects the fairway.
''I love playing golf obviously, but it's been a long year for me,'' said Fitzpatrick, who is expected to move into the top 30 from his current 51st ranking. ''This means the world ... For me to win on the final week of the year is special.''
Fitzpatrick survived a scare on the 15th hole when he pulled his tee shot into thick trees, but the ball somehow kicked back into the rough and he made par from there.
South African Charl Schwartzel (67) was two shots further behind in third.
Overnight leader, France's Victor Dubuisson (72), was among those tied fourth at 275. That group included Austria's Bernd Wiesberger (68), Italian Francesco Molinari (70), Dane Soren Kjeldsen (68) and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts (71).
The Race to Dubai did not need any major calculations when leader Stenson finished best among the four players in with a chance.
His score of 65 on Sunday tied McIlroy but left behind his two closest rivals, Willett and Sweden's Alex Noren.
Noren could not reproduce the form that saw him win last week in South Africa which included a sensational 9-under 63. He finished with a double bogey on the 18th for a round of 71, which put him four behind Stenson.
Stenson started the day tied with McIlroy on 5-under, and the two were paired together. Between them, they had 15 birdies, three bogeys and one eagle - McIlroy on the par-5 No. 7.
For Stenson, ''it's been a great year, the best year of my career.''
Stenson's first victory this season came as late as June, when he won the BMW International Open in Munich with a three-stroke victory. He then went toe-to-toe with Phil Mickelson at the Open, with Stenson shooting the lowest ever final round (63) by a winner.
November 20, 2016
Victor Dubuisson showed his ability to compete in big tournaments when a sparkling 8-under 64 on Saturday gave him a one-shot lead in the World Tour Championship after three rounds.
The Frenchman's two European Tour wins so far came at the 2013 and 2015 Turkish Airlines Open - a $7 million Final Series event.
Now 13 under after 54 holes, Dubuisson leads big-hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts (66) and the English duo of Matthew Fitzpatrick (66) and Tyrrell Hatton (67).
''I like to play well in the big tournaments. There is more focus,'' Dubuisson said. ''I'd rather win big tournaments than finish in top-10s in smaller ones.''
Overnight joint leader Francesco Molinari (70) was among a group of three players two shots behind Dubuisson. Also at 11-under 205 were England's Lee Westwood (69) and Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello, who shot the best round of the tournament with a 9-under 63.
After the start of the round was delayed by 50 minutes due to early-morning fog, the 26-year-old Dubuisson holed a wedge shot for an eagle two on the par-4 fifth hole, apart from seven birdies. His only blemish of the day came on the par-3 sixth, where he made a bogey.
''It's my best score to date. I've played well, made the good putts at the right time,'' said Dubuisson, who improved to No. 93 after a third-placed finish last week in South Africa, his only top 10 on the European Tour in a difficult season.
Fitzpatrick overcame a stretch in the middle where he made a bogey on the ninth and a double bogey on the 13th, while Colsaerts had two eagles in his round that also featured four bogeys.
Defending champion Rory McIlroy shot a 4-under 68 and was frustrated he could not go any lower after a superb round of ball-striking.
McIlroy, who closed with a bogey after hitting his second shot into the water on the par-5 18th, called it ''one of those days.''
He said: ''I think I turned a 62 into a 68 somehow ... I hit a lot of good shots and didn't really hole many putts.''
Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson (70) turned it around after being 3 over without a single birdie on the first 11 holes to close with five birdies in his last seven holes.
The Swede improved to 5 under overall and managed to keep his nearest rivals within sight. Compatriot Alex Noren, third in the Race to Dubai, shot a 69 and was two ahead of him, while Danny Willett slipped to tie 51st at 1 over, virtually going out of the race.
''I didn't get off to a great start I would say, but came back quite nicely,'' Stenson said. ''I've got to be pretty pleased with the way we managed to play on the way home.''
November 19, 2016
Sergio Garcia and Francesco Molinari share a one-stroke lead halfway through the World Tour Championship after shooting 5-under-par 67s on Friday.
They each made six birdies and a solitary bogey, and moved to 9-under 135 totals, one better than overnight leader Lee Westwood.
Westwood carded a 70, dropping a shot on the final hole after hitting his second shot into the water.
Fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton (66), Austria's Bernd Wiesberger (67), South African Charl Schwartzel (67) and Dutchman Joost Luiten (69) were tied for fourth at 7 under in the season-ending championship of the European Tour.
Garcia looked in superb touch and, except for a couple of mistakes on the par-4 12th and par-3 13th holes, the latter resulting in his only bogey, seemed in control of the round.
''I try to enjoy myself as much as possible. Obviously, when you're playing well, it's a little easier. It was a good day,'' said the Spanish Ryder Cup star.
Molinari made his only bogey on the 10th.
''Maybe yesterday the start was even better, but (I) played solid pretty much all the round,'' the Italian said. ''I had a little lapse in concentration on the 10th and then recovered well.''
Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson stayed in touch with his rivals for the Europe No. 1 crown. The Swede shot a battling 3-under 69, to move to 3 under at the halfway stage, the same as No. 2 Danny Willett (70), and one behind compatriot Alex Noren (69).
Stenson was saved by a hot putter on a day when he wasn't his usual accurate self with his irons. An errant tee shot on the 13th hole injured a female spectator.
''I'm definitely not playing great, but I had some more chances and the putter was behaving a lot better than yesterday,' Stenson said. ''It's a bit of a grind, but I'm hanging in there and fighting hard. I know the guys are going to come at me.''
Meanwhile, defending champion Rory McIlroy improved on his horror start of 75 with a 68.
''Mentally, yesterday, I was still on holiday,'' he said. ''I felt a bit better out there today.''
November 18, 2016
Rory McIlroy struggled to a 75 and the other contenders to top the European money-list also made slow starts in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship first round in Dubai on Thursday.
Experienced Briton Lee Westwood led the field with an opening 66 but British Open champion Henrik Stenson, who leads the money-list, shot level-par 72 and his Swedish compatriot Alex Noren and Britain's U.S. Masters winner Danny Willett had rounds of 71.
World number two McIlroy, fourth on the money list, needs victory in Dubai to win the race with Stenson finishing outside the top 45, Willett failing to make the first five and Noren the top two.
But the Northern Irishman had problems on the greens and made a double bogey and four bogeys to slump to a tie for 55th place in the 60-man field.
Frenchman Julien Quesne and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts were tied for second behind Westwood after rounds of 67, one shot ahead of Spain's Sergio Garcia, Italian Francesco Molinari and Dutchman Joost Luiten.
"This is as good as I've played for quite some time," Westwood told reporters. "I've found a couple of keys in different parts of my game and I've been working hard on them.
"Didn't seem that easy out there. Some days you feel like there's a lot of birdies out there but today I think was a pretty stiff test and I think you can't have any flaws in your game if you want to shoot a good score."
Swede Stenson described his own performance in Dubai as "average".
"It wasn't my best day," he said. "I'd say the good putts I hit didn't go in and the bad ones certainly didn't.
"Not much happening out there, one bogey, one birdie. I think it's been a while since I played a round with only one birdie."
|T13||KOR||Byeong Hun An||-11||-||70||69||70||68||277|
|T23||ESP||Rafael Cabrera Bello||-8||-||71||71||63||75||280|
|T35||RSA||Jaco Van Zyl||-5||-||69||71||73||70||283|
|T46||POR||Ricardo Melo Gouveia||-3||-||72||69||71||73||285|