Rory McIlroy edges ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick in race to be European number one

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McIlroy’s third round puts him back ahead of Fitzpatrick in the rankings as Rahm takes lead
Posted on
November 19, 2022
The Editorial Team in ,
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick will battle it out in the final round of the DP World Tour Championship to decide who ends 2022 as European number one.

The fight for the Harry Vardon Trophy comes down to the last day of the season, as world number one McIlroy narrowly leads US Open champion Fitzpatrick in the projected standings following a fine third-round 65 in Dubai.

But, with Fitzpatrick just one shot off the tournament lead held by their Ryder Cup team-mate Jon Rahm with 18 holes remaining, there is everything to play for on Sunday.

Rahm’s bogey-free 65 took the two-time former champion to the top of the leaderboard on 15 under par.

Fitzpatrick, also looking for his third win at Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Earth Course, was a shot further back in second following his 70.

Swede Alex Noren sat third on 13 under, with McIlroy and halfway co-leader Tyrrell Hatton tied for fourth on 12 under.

McIlroy came into the season finale at the top of the rankings, but opening rounds of 71 and 68 handed the advantage to Fitzpatrick.

The Northern Irishman hit back on Saturday, though, carding an eagle, seven birdies and two bogeys to climb the leaderboard.

He treated the huge crowds to some exhibition golf, coming close to holing his approach shots at the eighth and ninth before tapping in for birdies there.

McIlroy, who also won the FedEx Cup title on the PGA Tour in 2022, feels landing the Harry Vardon Trophy would be an excellent way to end a fantastic year.

He said: “It’s really cool, I’ve got to this stage in the game, over 15 years as a pro, and I’m still trying to do things for the first time.

“I’ve never won the FedEx Cup and this tour’s rankings in the same year, so it would be really nice.

“It’s been a wonderful year. I’ve played some really, really great golf and really consistent golf.

“If I’m able to go out there tomorrow and shoot a good score and get the job done, it would be a really nice way to end what’s been a great year.”

Fitzpatrick is aiming to be crowned European number one for the first time in his career and admitted it would be a special achievement.

“It would mean the world,” he said. “I’m going to need a lot of things go my way.

“This could potentially, with what happens tomorrow, be a third win here and, if it happens, it could be all three times I’ve not won the rankings.

“So, yeah, maybe I guess I just leave it a little bit too late to play well, but I’ve given myself a chance tomorrow, and that’s all you can do at the start of the week. I’ll do the best I can and fingers crossed.

Englishman Hatton had looked like running away with things in the early stages of the third round, having fired three birdies in his first seven holes to lead by three shots.

But the situation at the top of the leaderboard changed completely on the back nine as Hatton’s four bogeys in six holes from the 10th opened the door for the chasing pack.

And Rahm took full advantage, following up four birdies on the front side, including three in a row from the fifth, with three more gains on the back nine to lead by one.

Pos.PlayerTo ParR1R2R3
1RAHM, Jon-15706665
2FITZPATRICK, Matt-14656770
3NOREN, Alex-13666968
4HATTON, Tyrrell-12656772
MCILROY, Rory-12716865
6FLEETWOOD, Tommy-10687068
MERONK, Adrian-10707165
8CAMPILLO, Jorge-9716571
9KIEFFER, Maximilian-7697070
KITAYAMA, Kurt-7686972
11HØJGAARD, Rasmus-6687072
ARNAUS, Adri-6676875
13OTAEGUI, Adrian-5716872
GREEN, Gavin-5707368
HORSFIELD, Sam-5717070
16LEE, Min Woo-4716774
RAMSAY, Richie-4697073
LANGASQUE, Romain-4716972
19MIGLIOZZI, Guido-3716973
PAUL, Yannik-3687174
21WU, Ashun-2786472
LOWRY, Shane-2737071
MACINTYRE, Robert-2707371
SYME, Connor-2737170
MANSELL, Richard-2737170
26HOVLAND, Viktor-1747071
PEREZ, Victor-1697373
LAGERGREN, Joakim-1737171
SHINKWIN, Callum-1687671
FOX, Ryan-1737270
31WARING, PaulPar707274
ZANOTTI, FabrizioPar737073
CABRERA BELLO, RafaPar757170
34WILSON, Oliver+1707275
SCHNEIDER, Marcel+1727174
ROZNER, Antoine+1727273
37SHARMA, Shubhankar+2737174
OLESEN, Thorbjørn+2757172
LAW, David+2707474
PEPPERELL, Eddie+2767369
FERGUSON, Ewen+2767270
42SMITH, Jordan+3767271
BLAND, Richard+3777270
LAWRENCE, Thriston+3727671
LI, Haotong+3757569
46BEKKER, Oliver+4727474
SÖDERBERG, Sebastian+4707674
48LONG, Hurly+6767373
49PAVON, Matthieu+7757672
50LARRAZÁBAL, Pablo+10697978
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