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Joy for Stenson and Fitzpatrick but McIlroy left to rue slow start

By Phil Casey

Published 21/11/2016

Out in front: Henrik Stenson poses after winning the Race to Dubai title
Out in front: Henrik Stenson poses after winning the Race to Dubai title

Two years to the day after gaining his European Tour card, Matt Fitzpatrick won the DP World Tour Championship in dramatic fashion as Open champion Henrik Stenson clinched the Race to Dubai title.

Tyrrell Hatton looked set to claim his second victory in seven weeks after holing a bunker shot for par on the 17th to preserve a one-shot lead at Jumeirah Golf Estates. However, the 25-year-old then drove into the creek on the par-five 18th and carded his only bogey of a closing 68 to open the door for Fitzpatrick.

The 22-year-old from Sheffield needed par to force a play-off or a birdie to win and duly got up and down from a greenside bunker to complete a 67 and claim the first prize of £1million.

"It means the world," the Ryder Cup player said after becoming the youngest Englishman to win three times on the European Tour. "To win one of these Final Series events is really special. It's not going to sink in for a while. It's been a special year and to end it like this is amazing."

Stenson's share of ninth was more than enough to make certain of ending the year as European No.1, the Swede carding a closing 65 which was matched by playing partner and defending champion Rory McIlroy, who finished in a share for ninth.

Masters champion Danny Willett, who started the week 299,675 points behind Stenson, tied for 50th in the 60-man field.

"I'm very pleased to get my name on this trophy once again," said Stenson, who was the first man to win the Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup in the same season in 2013. "It's been a great year, the best year of my career."

Ulsterman McIlroy was left to rue an opening 75 as he missed out on a fourth win of the season.

"If I had just shot around level par, one under, I would have been right in the tournament," the World No.2 said.

"But these things happen and I played well for the remaining three days and at least redeemed myself a little bit."

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