Rolex Series

Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick set for Harry Vardon Trophy tussle on Sunday

Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick will go head to head in the final round of the 2022 DP World Tour Championship as the fight for the Harry Vardon Trophy goes down to the wire.


World Number One McIlroy led the DP World Tour Rankings in Partnership with Rolex coming into this week's season finale in Dubai but found himself trailing U.S. Open Champion Fitzpatrick in the projected standings at the halfway stage.

McIlroy gave his chances of becoming European Number One for a fourth time a huge lift as he fired a stunning 65 on Saturday to get within three shots of the tournament lead held by Ryder Cup team-mate Jon Rahm.

That moved him back to first place on the projected standings, but with Fitzpatrick just one shot behind Rahm on the leaderboard, a thrilling finish is in store.

Victory on Sunday would be enough for Fitzpatrick to claim the Harry Vardon Trophy if McIlroy finishes worse than second.

A runner-up finish could also see him achieve the feat, but he would need McIlroy to finish worse than seventh.

Friday's birdie-birdie-eagle finish had provided McIlroy with a timely confidence boost and he produced yet more fireworks on Moving Day, treating the huge crowds following him to some of his very best golf as he carded an eagle, seven birdies and two bogeys to climb to 12 under par.

The 33-year-old, who also won the FedExCup title on the PGA TOUR in 2022, feels landing the Harry Vardon Trophy would be an excellent way to end a stellar year.

He said: "It's really cool, I've got to this stage in the game, over 15 years as a pro, and I'm still trying to do things for the first time.

"I've never won the FedExCup and this Tour's Rankings in the same year, so it would be really nice.

"It's been a wonderful year. I've played some really, really great golf and really consistent golf.

"If I'm able to go out there tomorrow and shoot a good score and get the job done, it would be a really nice way to end what's been a great year."

Fitzpatrick, who is looking to win this event for a third time, signed for a third-round 70 after carding four birdies and two bogeys on Saturday.

That moved him into second place on 14 under par.

He is bidding to win the DP World Tour Rankings for the first time and admitted it would be a special achievement.

"It would mean the world," he said. "I'm going to need a lot of things go my way. 

"This could potentially, with what happens tomorrow, be a third win here, and if it happens, it could be all three times I've not won the Rankings.

"So yeah, maybe I guess I just leave it a little bit too late to play well but I've given myself a chance tomorrow, and that's all you can do at the start of the week. I'll do the best I can and fingers crossed."

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