The 2017 season is set for a dramatic conclusion at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, as the Race to Dubai goes down to the wire in the final event of the season. Here’s all you need to know, as Tommy Fleetwood bids to be crowned Europe’s Number One for the first time.
Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick holed a nerve-shredding putt at the 18th to win the season-ending DP World Tour Championship by a single shot.
The 22 year trailed Tyrrell Hatton by one shot as he stood at the 18th tee, but after Hatton carded a bogey at the last, Fitzpatrick calmly slotted in his birdie putt to get to 17 under par and secure his third European Tour title.
Fitzpatrick started his final round one shot behind overnight leader Victor Dubuisson, but he made gains at the second and third holes to jump to the top of the leaderboard. He went toe to toe with Hatton in an enthralling battle throughout the day, with his compatriot moving one shot ahead going into the final hole.
But after sending his tee shot into the water at the last, Hatton made his first bogey of the day to fall back to 16 under and open the door for Fitzpatrick. And after getting up and down from a greenside bunker, he nervelessly holed his four foot birdie putt at the last to produce a closing 67 and move to sixth in the Race to Dubai rankings presented by Rolex.
Hatton was alone in second on 16 under, with Charl Schwartzel another two strokes back in third, while Swede Henrik Stenson posted a stunning 65 to clinch his second Race to Dubai title.
Englishman Fleetwood will arrive in Dubai for the final event of the season, and the eighth Rolex Series event, knowing that only two players – recent Turkish Airlines Open winner Justin Rose and Masters Tournament champion Sergio Garcia - can halt his bid to claim the Race to Dubai title for the first time.
Rose has helped to set up a thrilling end to the season, with back-to-back wins at the WGC-HSBC Champions and the Turkish Airlines Open slashing long term leader Fleetwood’s advantage at the top of the Rankings.
A tenth place finish last week at the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player put Fleetwood back in the driving seat, and he will tee it up at Jumeirah Golf Estates with a 256,737 point advantage over Rose, while Garcia is 1,051,405 points behind the leader.
Branden Grace moved into the top ten in the Rankings and in line for a share of the Bonus Pool with his victory on home soil at the Nedbank Golf Challenge. Second and third place finishes in South Africa for Scott Jamieson of Scotland and Frenchman Victor Dubuisson sealed their places in the 60-player field in Dubai.
Amongst the other stars gathering this week are Spanish sensation Jon Rahm and his fellow Rolex Series winners Alex Noren of Sweden, Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello, and Tyrrell Hatton of England.
Two-time Major winner Martin Kaymer, Ryder Cup legend Lee Westwood and last year’s winner Fitzpatrick will also tee it up as part of the stellar field.
Earth is one of two courses set across the 1,119 hectares of lush green landscape at Jumeirah Golf Estates, and has been the home of this event since 2009.
Designed by Greg Norman, the 7675-yard course is inspired by the great parkland courses of Europe and North America.
Earth plays to a par 72 and features rolling fairways, brilliant white bunkers and a deep red ochre backdrop framed by trees and shrubs.
There is no shortage of hazards, with a total of 99 bunkers as well as a variety of lakes. Each of the last four holes play alongside or over water, culminating in a meandering creek running the full length of the 18th hole.
Did you know?
• The field is made up of 22 winners from the 2017 European Tour season. Four of those are multiple winners: Tommy Fleetwood (Abu Dhabu HSBC Championship and HNA Open de France), Sergio Garcia (Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Masters Tournament and Andalucía Valderrama Masters), Tyrrell Hatton (Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and Italian Open) and Justin Rose (WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open).
• The field contains 50 different European Tour winners with 206 victories between them.
• There are 20 different countries represented among the 60 players competing: Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Paraguay, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand and United States.
• Players by nation: 16 from England, seven from South Africa, five from Spain, four each from USA and France, three from Scotland, two each from Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland and Sweden and one each from Austria, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Thailand, Paraguay, South Korea and United States.
• There are 16 players making their tournament debut this week: Jon Rahm, Paul Dunne, Dylan Frittelli, Hideto Tanihara, Jordan Smith, Ryan Fox, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Callum Shinkwin, Andrew Dodt, Alexander Björk, Matthieu Pavon, Adrian Otaegui, Dean Burmester, Haydn Porteous, Julian Suri and Paul Waring.
• Jeunghun Wang is the youngest player in the field, aged 22 years, two months and six days. Lee Westwood is the oldest player in the field aged 44 years, six months and nine days. A total of 29 players are under the age of 30 (48 per cent of the field).
• There are five European Challenge Tour Graduates from the class of 2016 in the field: Smith, Frittelli, Fox, Björk and Pavon.
• There are seven European Tour rookies in the field: Rahm, Frittelli, Tanihara, Fox, Björk, Pavon and Suri.