Bernd Wiesberger claimed a second Rolex Series title and shot to the summit of the European Tour's Race to Dubai after securing a third victory of the season with a hard-fought triumph at the Italian Open.
The Austrian, who won the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and Made in Denmark presented by FREJA earlier this season, started the final round three shots adrift of 2016 DP World Tour Championship winner Matthew Fitzpatrick. But the 34-year-old carded a sublime bogey-free 65 to get to 16 under par and beat the Englishman by one stroke at Olgiata Golf Club and continue his blistering season after a frustrating year in 2018 when he missed seven months through injury.
"I've played a lot of good golf and a lot of progress has been made after coming back from the last year," said Wiesberger, who climbs from third to the top of the Rankings after claiming 1,165 Race to Dubai points for the victory to take his total to 4,198.3 for the season.
"I've won three times this year and it's been the same every time, I've just really enjoyed my time and I'm positive to be back out there because I know how tough it was when I had to withdraw from these great events.
"I've played really well in the right events in Ireland, Scotland and here this week which helps getting up there in the Race to Dubai.
“I can't ask for more than being in a position to play for the Race to Dubai title at the DP World Tour Championship at the end of the year.”
Fitzpatrick, who now has four runner-up finishes this season, picked up 780 Race to Dubai points to move up to fourth from sixth in the Rankings. The result puts the 25-year-old in prime position for a share of the US$5 million Race to Dubai Bonus pool, which is open to the five top-ranked players following the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, a Rolex Series event.
Meanwhile, Kurt Kitayama booked a maiden appearance at Jumeirah Golf Estates after finishing third in Rome. The American, who has two European Tour victories to his name in his rookie year, jumps up 15 places to 15th in the Rankings.
Andrew Johnston, Matthias Schwab and Robert MacIntyre finished a shot further back as the trio shared fourth. Johnston puts himself back in contention of securing a spot at the DP World Tour Championship after moving up to 51st, Schwab jumps up to 31st from 45th and MacIntyre continues his surge up the Rankings after climbing to seventh.
The top 50 players in the Race to Dubai Rankings will contest the season-ending US$8 million DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai from November 21-24 where US$3 million will be up for grabs for the winner, making it the richest first prize in world tournament golf.