DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – It all comes down to 18 holes.
European Tour golf fans will need calculators to watch the final round of the $8 million DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. They’ll need them to keep track of the permutations involved in who’s going to finish 2017 as European No. 1.
That’s how tight things are in arguably the greatest finish to a European season.
Justin Rose can overhaul current European No. 1 Tommy Fleetwood and win the Race to Dubai if he holds on to top spot in the DP World. Fleetwood is breathing down his neck and would also clinch the Race to Dubai with a win in the DP World.
Rose takes a one-shot lead into the final round over Jon Rahm and South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli after a 7-under-par 65 moved him to 15 under. Fleetwood is two shots behind in a tie for third place after a second consecutive 65 following an opening 73.
Fleetwood is one of nine players within three shots of Rose’s lead. Calculators are going to take a battering if the Olympic champion doesn’t hold on.
This Race to Dubai is a matter of head vs. heart. The head says the more experienced Rose lives up to his stature and goes on to become European No. 1 for a second time following 2012. Sentimentalists will support Fleetwood for obvious reasons: he’s 11 years younger than Rose and has played more on the European circuit this season. He’s also proven to be a battler after his opening round. That was obvious in Round 3 when he birdied eight of his last 11 holes for his 65.
“Hopefully things come in threes and I can shoot a third one,” he said.
“It’s a massive thing. It’s the biggest thing in my career so far because it’s all year and It comes down to the final round.
“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 a Race to Dubai coming down these last few events.
“Last day of the season and I’ve got a chance to win the Race to Dubai, it’s cool.”
It is. Get your calculators ready.