England’s Danny Willett returned to winning ways with victory in the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai as Francesco Molinari was crowned Race to Dubai champion.
Danny Willett wins DP World Tour Championship
Danny Willett carded a closing 68 to finish on 18-under-par and win the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai by two strokes from Matt Wallace and Patrick Reed. It was Willett’s first win since the 2016 Masters.
In a closely fought final round, Willett edged in front with three birdies in his last five holes. The decisive blow came at the par-3 17th where Willett fired in a brilliant tee shot to within six feet of the cup. Patrick Reed was unable to get up-and-down on the same hole before Willett rolled his birdie putt home to take a three-shot lead to the final hole.
There was a brief scare for the Englishman when his tee shot on the last nearly found the water, but it stopped just short and, despite being in the hazard, he was able to advance his ball, get onto the par-5 in three shots and secure the victory.
“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.”
Francesco Molinari finished on six-under-par for the week and, with defending Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood failing to get the victory this week, the Italian was crowned Race to Dubai champion.
“It’s incredible, it’s more than I ever dreamed of achieving,” he said. “I think I’ve seen players who are better than me not winning Majors or the Order of Merit so for me to do it, just seems unreal. Now I have some time to relax and recover but to be honest I don’t know how to tackle next season, it’s going to be impossible to repeat this year.”
Patrick Reed birdied the final hole to climb into a tie for second place with Matt Wallace and that was enough for the American to go ahead of Tommy Fleetwood and finish second in the Race to Dubai standings.
Matt Wallace climbed into 10th place on the standings with his tied second finish in Dubai. That earned him the last bonus pool spot.
Despite a disappointing final round of 80, India’s Shubhankar Sharma was crowned Rookie of the Year for 2018.
“It’s been a great year and I feel very lucky,” he said. “I still have a lot to learn though and next year I just have to keep building on what I have achieved.
DP World Tour Championship, Dubai
Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, UAE
Purse: $8,000,000 Par: 72
1 Danny Willett (Eng) 67 67 68 68 270
T2 Matt Wallace (Eng) 68 65 71 68 272
T2 Patrick Reed (USA) 69 66 67 70 272
T4 Jon Rahm (Esp) 67 70 69 68 274
T4 Adrian Otaegui (Esp) 66 68 71 69 274
T4 Dean Burmester (RSA) 71 65 68 70 274
T7 Dylan Frittelli (RSA) 70 73 66 66 275
T7 Tom Lewis (Eng) 69 69 67 70 275
T9 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 70 66 71 69 276
T9 Alex Noren (Swe) 69 71 67 69 276
T9 Sergio Garcia (Esp) 71 68 67 70 276