World Number One Rory McIlroy maintains his lead in The Race to Dubai but with Peter Hanson’s sixth European Tour title moving the Swede up to second place the two Ryder Cup stars have it all to play for as they count down to the season ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
To be played on the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates from 22-25 November, the $8 million tournament will bring the curtain down on what has been the best season of Hanson’s career – and the Swede has his eye on winning The Race to Dubai after moving into second place in the standings.
McIlroy leads his Ryder Cup team-mate by € 812, 572 in the fight to be European Number One but with the man from Northern Ireland sitting out this week’s WGC-HSBC Champions at Mission Hills Golf Club in southern China, Hanson can eat into that lead with another solid performance and even overtake McIlroy with a victory.
“I’m moving closer to Rory in The Race to Dubai and next week I’m playing while he isn’t so hopefully I can keep this form going and be up there again next Sunday,” said Hanson following his one-shot victory over McIlroy at the BMW Masters at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai.
“When you look at The Race to Dubai, you always want to be up there but deep down I know he is going to be hard to catch. I’ll see how this week goes but it might be that I tee it up in Singapore the following week. That’s something I need to think about.”
With just four tournaments remaining until the top 60 in The Race to Dubai gather at Jumeirah Golf Estates, competition is fierce as the cream of The European Tour fight it out to confirm their place at the season-ending finale.
For Hanson and McIlroy, however, qualification has long been secure and the next target is to win the overall Race to Dubai and secure a large slice of the $3.75 million Race to Dubai Bonus Pool.
“With Rory not playing this week, the rest of us know we are playing for a big purse again and we can apply some pressure on him going into Dubai. It would be great if I could do that and have a chance of making that top spot.”
“The way Rory plays at the moment it will be tough, but it keeps it interesting and I’m sure Justin Rose and Branden Grace will be thinking the same.”
Rose, like Hanson, could move to the top of the rankings with a victory at Mission Hills, while a fifth win of the season for Grace would take him to within €428,918 of the 23 year old Northern Irishman.
Hanson added: “Dubai has been very nice to me in the past – I finished fourth there last year. It is a course that is not too dissimilar to Lake Malaren – it is fairly long and wide open. It is a big hitter’s course, so of course it will suit Rory as well. All of the guys at the top of the list can all move the ball a long way off the tee, so it should be a great way to end a great year for me.”
While Hanson has title ambitions, fellow Swede and 2010 DP World Tour Championship winner Robert Karlsson is making a late bid to be back at the Earth course following his share of 20th place at the BMW Masters – he now holds 67th place with qualification still a possibility.
Free season tickets for the 2012 DP World Tour Championship are available online by registering at the official website www.dpwtc.com