DP World Tour Championship, Dubai
Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, United Arab Emirates 15 Nov 2018 - 18 Nov 2018
Sunday, 18 November 2018
Francesco Molinari  (Getty Images)
Francesco Molinari (Getty Images)

Francesco Molinari has completed the season of his life after being crowned Europe's Number One at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

The Italian won his maiden Major Championship in July at The Open, adding to his first Rolex Series victory at the BMW PGA Championship.

Those triumphs coupled with incredibly consistent performances throughout the year meant that only a victory for defending champion Tommy Fleetwood at Jumeirah Golf Estates could possibly deny Molinari the Race to Dubai title.

A closing 68 was not enough to move the Englishman to the summit on the Earth Course and Molinari is now the first Italian to be crowned the European Tour's top player.

The 36 year old also made Ryder Cup history in Europe's famous victory at Le Golf National in October, becoming the first European to win five points out of five.

Four of those points were won in a pairing with his great friend Fleetwood, and the duo shared an embrace at the clubhouse after Molinari posted a closing 71 in Dubai.

“It's incredible,” said Molinari. “Now I'm going to have time to sit down and relax and really think back about the last few months.

“This morning on the first tee the announcement is the winner of The Open Championship, Race to Dubai leader, it doesn't sound real at the moment.

“It's more than I ever dreamed of achieving. I've seen guys that I think are better players than me not winning Majors and not winning Order of Merits or Race to Dubais. To achieve those things in one single season is just incredible.

“We've been doing very well this year when it comes to the challenges. I never won a Ryder Cup match and I won five out of five. Carnoustie was really not my favourite place, to say the least, before this year, and I go there and win.

“It's tough in a way because it would have been probably easier in a way to play against anyone else but him (Fleetwood). I know how talented he is and I really thought at some point he was going to win it and put me in a tough spot.

“He's obviously a great guy and a super talented player and I'm sure being younger than me, he's going to win a few more Race to Dubais.”

Molinari began his season with top 25s at the season's opening two World Golf Championships and the Masters Tournament before returning to Europe for back-to-back Rolex Series events.

He had achieved top tens at five of the last six BMW PGA Championships and he finally got over the line at Wentworth, going head-to-head with Rory McIlroy on Sunday to win by two shots.

The following week he finished second by one shot to Thorbjørn Olesen as he looked for a third Italian Open title and another top 25 in a Major Championship was to follow at the US Open.

A maiden title on the US PGA Tour got July off to a flying start but more glory was to follow at Carnoustie.

Heading out on Sunday under the glare of playing with a resurgent Tiger Woods, Molinari carded a closing 69 to lift the Claret Jug and become the first Italian to win a Major Championship.

His fine record in the very biggest events continued with a top ten at the US PGA Championship and with the final Major of the season completed, all eyes turned to Le Golf National.

Molinari entered the Ryder Cup as Europe's top player on both the World and European Points Lists and was paired with Fleetwood, the duo taking the only point of a disappointing opening session for the Europeans.

Moliwood was born and the pair went on to claim another three points and help put Europe in a dominant position heading into the singles.

Molinari was up against Phil Mickelson and when the American put his tee-shot in the water at the par three 16th, Molinari had a four and two win, Europe had the Ryder Cup and history was made.

A Rolex Series Event

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1WILLETT, DannyENG18-18
T2REED, PatrickUSA18-16
T4RAHM, JonESP18-14
T4OTAEGUI, AdrianESP18-14

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