Dubai: Englishman Justin Rose agonisingly missed out on snatching the Race to Dubai from compatriot Tommy Fleetwood on Sunday, despite finishing just two strokes behind DP World Tour Championship winner Jon Rahm.
In the end, just under 60,000 points painstakingly separated the pair, with Fleetwood, who started the day two strokes behind Rose on 13 under, winning the Race to Dubai, despite ending with a less than impressive 74 and never threatening during the day.
Rose needed to finish in a solo position within the top five to stand any chance of overtaking money list leader Fleetwood in this season-ending event at the Jumeirah Golf Estates. Having started the day with a one-stroke lead at 15-under, he had seemed destined to win both the event and with it the money-list after getting up to 19-under, a stroke clear, by the seventh hole.
However, a bogey on 12 saw Rose fall back into a joint lead and then with another bogey on 14, the 37-year-old Englishman fell out of a four-way tie for first from which Rahm advanced, with the Spanish rookie getting a birdie on 16 to pull ahead for the victory at 19-under.
A third bogey for Rose on 16 saw him drop back to tied for seventh. Despite a birdie on 18 bringing him back into the top five — signing for a 70 — the fact he finished tied for fourth with three others, meant the split of cash shared wasn’t enough to overtake Fleetwood, who finished six strokes behind in tied for 21st.
“The 12th was a disappointing mistake, but even going down 14 I felt like everything was in hand,” said Rose. “A shot into the water there ultimately put me in chasing mode, then it was tough to make something happen.
“I knew I needed to come out and stay positive and aggressive and keep the pedal down today because this is such a score-able golf course, and I always knew there was a possibility of someone bursting through the pack.
“The front nine I was in the moment, I felt calm and good about things, but yeah, this is a life lesson.”
Fleetwood, who shot two outward birdies and bogey, before returning with four bogeys and a birdie on Sunday, had an agonising wait at the end for Rose to finish, and then for the number-crunchers to work out who had won.
“The emotions were difficult on me because I don’t trust computers, so even when everything had finished, it was difficult to get up or down,” he said.
“Then I felt for Justin a lot, I saw him when he came in. How gracious he was says a lot about his character.
“It was a tough scenario. I didn’t feel like I could take any credit for what I had just achieved. But that’s the nature of the game, someone wins and somebody loses.
“The achievement of winning a year-long accomplishment is massive and it holds a lot of respect amongst your peers. It shows sort of the level of consistency and the amount I’ve improved as a player and a person.
“It’s the biggest day of my career for sure.”