Spectators at Jumeirah Golf Estates are in for a real treat tomorrow (Sunday) with the stage set for the most thrilling conclusion the DP World Tour Championship has witnessed since its inauguration in 2009.
Never before has the tournament entered the final day with so much still up for grabs. For Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood, victory in the European Tour’s US$8 million season-ending event will also bring with it Race to Dubai glory and each of them are within touching distance of achieving that goal.
Rose is in pole position after a scintillating blemish-free third round of seven under par 65 which concluded with a remarkable par at the last after the Englishman found the fairway creek with his second shot. With a one-stroke lead at 15 under par heading into the final round, Rose can wrap up a remarkable second Race to Dubai title ten years after his first by claiming the DP World Tour Championship title today. Achieving that feat would also mark the first time in his career Rose has won three titles on the bounce, having been victorious in his last two outings in China and Turkey.
“It’s an opportunity, that’s the way I’m going to look at it,” said Rose. “I don’t see too much pressure on myself. This is going to be a day just to go for it and play well. It’s not going to be the kind of day like ten years ago when I had a big lead and I was just trying to hang on. It’s not going to be that kind of day. There are going to be a lot of good players and it’s going to be a day where you have to play good golf.”
Rose’s playing partner Jon Rahm matched the Ryder Cup star’s 65 to move into a tie for second place at 14 under with South Africa’s Dylan Fritelli, who fired a blistering bogey-free round of nine under 63.
“I felt really comfortable out there,” said Fritelli. “Physically I’m feeling really good, I’ve got my trainer here this week who has really helped out a lot to keep me fit, healthy and feeling good.”
Race to Dubai leader Fleetwood is just one stroke further back at 13 under. The Englishman caught fire down the Earth course’s back nine which he completed in just 30 blows after carding six birdies, including five over the closing six holes, to sign for a second consecutive 65 having begun the week with a disappointing one over 73.
“You’ve got to stay patient when it’s not coming and then ride the roller coaster when its going your way I suppose,” said Fleetwood who is joined in a tie for fourth place by Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat and South African Dean Burmester. “It’s amazing from where we were on Thursday night to stand here and actually be in the tournament. It’s been great.”
On the prospect of winning the Race to Dubai, Fleetwood said: “It’s massive, it really is. “But above all, whether I win it or not, or whether Justin wins it, one of us will have deserved it. It’s been an absolute pleasure trying to win the Race to Dubai, coming down to these last few events, and especially this week. The week could have gone not quite as I wanted it to, so to be heading into the last day of the season with a chance to win the Race to Dubai, it’s cool.”
With just two strokes separating Fleetwood from good friend Rose, the final chapter in the fascinating 2017 Race to Dubai story is still waiting to be inked.