Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, United Arab Emirates 21 Nov 2019 - 24 Nov 2019
Monday, 07 January 2019
Danny Willett  (Getty Images)
Danny Willett (Getty Images)

Danny Willett made a triumphant return to the winner's circle as Francesco Molinari was crowned Europe's Number One on a dramatic final day of the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

Englishman Willett had the world at his feet in April 2016 as he claimed a maiden Major Championship at the Masters Tournament, but when he arrived this week at Jumeirah Golf Estates, that remained the last time he had tasted victory.

Injuries and an admitted lack of form saw him drop as low as 462nd in the Official World Golf Ranking, but a closing 68 in Dubai means he is now a Rolex Series champion and back on the way up.

Willett made three birdies in his last five holes to get to 18 under, two shots clear of fellow Englishman Matt Wallace and reigning Masters Champion Patrick Reed.

Defending champion Jon Rahm was then at 14 under alongside fellow Spaniard Adrian Otaegui and South African Dean Burmester.

Molinari entered the week knowing that only a win for closest rival and great friend Tommy Fleetwood could deny him the Race to Dubai title and with the Englishman finishing in a tie for 16th, Italy had its first European Tour Number One.

In the season after winning the Masters, Willett finished 96th in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex and in August of 2017 started working with new coach Sean Foley.

He missed five of his first seven cuts this season but a tie for eighth at the Italian Open ignited his campaign and two more Rolex Series top tens were to follow before he claimed European Tour title number six on the Earth Course.

“It's been a lot of hard work,” said an emotional Willett. “It's been tough. I'm just massively proud of myself and everyone that's been around me.

"You never quite know when a win is around the corner and with all the things that have happened, I was never quite sure if it was going to happen again.

“To happen here at the end of year, we've battled long and hard through this season to come out at the end, regardless of what happened today, a better person and a better athlete. It's a special place.

“It's been a hell of a lot of work and it's just nice to be back.”

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