We’re 30 events down with 16 to go in the year’s Race to Dubai, and with the European Tour on a two-week hiatus we’ve taken chance the chance to reflect.
Here, we take a look at the key storylines which have emerged from the season-long points race so far this season.
Lowry leads the way
Thanks to what is already a career-best campaign, Shane Lowry occupies top spot in the rankings, largely thanks to victories at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA – a Rolex Series event – and his most recent win at The Open Championship.
One can safely say it has been an unforgettable year for the Irishman where, on top of winning his first Major title with the great weight on local expectation on his shoulders, he has also secured a top-ten finish at the US PGA Championship and made cuts in eight of his nine starts on the European Tour this term.
With a healthy lead over Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger in the points race, is “Race to Dubai Champion” set to be the next milestone in Lowry’s fairy-tale 2019?
Fleetwood in the chasing pack
Tommy Fleetwood is no stranger to the Race to Dubai, having topped the rankings in 2017 and come close to defending the title last year before being leapfrogged by good friend Francesco Molinari.
However, the Englishman has been in a rich vein of form of late and has swiftly jumped into the top five in the rankings.
In his past two events, the 28-year-old has finished second at Portrush and in a tie for fourth the following week at the World Golf Championships event in Memphis.
Watch out for Fleetwood in the second part of the 2019 campaign.
Rahm, Wallace and Wiesberger seek maiden Race to Dubai win
A number of players are in the running to become European Tour Number One for the first time, and aside from current leader Lowry, the trio of Jon Rahm, Matt Wallace and Bernd Wiesberger are certainly worth keeping an eye on.
The highest ranked, as things stand, is Wiesberger in second place, who has picked up two wins this term – at the Made in Denmark and the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open – despite only coming back from a wrist injury at the start of the year.
Rahm currently sits one spot further back in third but is in great form having recently picked up his second Dubai Duty Free Irish Open title in three years, which made him the first player to win three Rolex Series titles since the premium series was introduced in 2017.
Wallace, who sits in fifth position, is no stranger to success after he won three times on the European Tour last season.
Although he may not have triumphed this year, his consistency – two runner-up spots and two runner-up finishes in 2019 – and desire to win mean you can’t rule out the Englishman.
First American to win the Race to Dubai?
The 2019 Race to Dubai could also see its first American champion, with the duo of Kevin Kisner (sixth) and Xander Schauffele (seventh) well in contention.
For the former, Kisner, his win at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play fired him to the top of the Race to Dubai Rankings, a position he only recently relinquished. Despite his mediocre form of late, one final push in the second half of the season and he could be the man taking home the famous rankings trophy.
Schauffele find himself near the summit of the rankings thanks to his particularly impressive performances in the Majors – in particular, the three hosted in the United States. At the Masters he would claim a tie for second, and he would finish one spot worse off at the U.S. Open in a tie for third.
In the middle of these great performances the American also finished in a tie for 16th at the US PGA Championship – clearly a player for the big occasions which will stand him in good stead on the European Tour later this year.
The fight for the top five
Following a change to the structure of this year’s bonus pool – which will now be divided amongst the top five players in the Race to Dubai instead of the top ten – there’s even more to play for.
As it stands, Lowry, Wiesberger, Rahm, Fleetwood and Wallace will all share the $5million Race to Dubai bonus pool, meaning there is much more on offer then just top spot at this year’s Race to Dubai finale.
Without doubt the chasing pack, which includes Kisner, Louis Oosthuizen, Schauffele, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Jorge Campillo, will be trying to leap into that top five and claim the extra riches on that are up for grabs.