Dubai: The Race to Dubai title-chase will go right down to the final round of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship on Sunday, with Justin Rose leading the tournament on 15-under, and Tommy Fleetwood just two strokes behind, tied for fourth after round three.
Just over 250,000 points separates money-list leader Fleetwood from his fast-catching rival Rose, who has come into this event with back-to-back wins in China and Turkey.
Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose’s finishing position in Dubai to hang onto the overall season’s honour, while Rose needs to finish solo fifth to stand any chance of overtaking his fellow Englishman at this last hurdle.
Rose built on rounds of 66 and 70 with a 65 to rise from tied for third overnight to sit one stroke clear at 15 under on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Fleetwood continued his recovery from an opening 73 to post a second consecutive 65 to move up from tied for 11th to get into within two strokes of Rose at tied for fourth on 13 under.
“To bounce back Thursday was great. Then to shoot yesterday’s score was great, and then the last 11 holes today were brilliant,” said Fleetwood, who recovered from a bogey on the fifth hole to shoot eight birdies from eight until 18.
“It’s amazing to be, from where we were Thursday night, to stand here and be actually in the tournament, it’s been great.
“But it doesn’t seem to matter what I’m doing at the moment. When you look at the leaderboard, we know who’s there,” he added in reference to Rose.
“Above all, whether I win it or not, or whether Justin wins it, one of us will have deserved it,” he said of the Order of Merit.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure trying to win a Race to Dubai, coming down these last few events, and especially this week now.
“The week could have gone not quite as how you wanted it, not being in contention or anything.
“But it’s the last day of the season and I’ve got a chance to win the Race to Dubai, it’s cool.
“It’s a massive thing, it’s the biggest thing I’ve ever tried to achieve. A year and a half ago I was absolutely nowhere in the game and I was a bit lost,” said Fleetwood, who ended last year ranked 99th and is now World No. 19.
“Fast forward to where I am now, it’s been amazing to play and enjoy my golf this year; and then to get to this stage.
“It’s nothing close to the biggest day of my life,” said the new dad. “But in my career it is. You’ve got to enjoy these moments. This is what you practice for and this is what you play for.
“If you’re not going to keep going in this situation, you’re never going to do it are you? I like to think I’ve got a good attitude and a good character. I hope I can keep this momentum going.”