Tommy Fleetwood captures Race to Dubai, Jon Rahm wins Euro Tour finale

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Tommy Fleetwood captures Race to Dubai, Jon Rahm wins Euro Tour finale

Euro Tour

Tommy Fleetwood captures Race to Dubai, Jon Rahm wins Euro Tour finale

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Jon Rahm won the battle. Tommy Fleetwood won the war.

The 26-year-old Englishman is Europe’s No. 1 player for 2017 after pipping Justin Rose for the Harry Vardon Trophy in the most exciting end to a European Tour season.

Rahm took home $1.3 million for his second European Tour victory following the Irish Open, but the Spaniard was only part of a bigger conflict. All eyes were on who would win the Race to Dubai.

Step forward Tommy Fleetwood.

Fleetwood finished 21st in the $8 million DP World Tour Championship, Dubai and had to hope Rose wouldn’t hang on to his 54-hole lead. The Olympic champion didn’t. He suffered a mini-collapse over the back nine that belied his gold medal in Rio. Rose finished joint fourth to earn 280,845 points while Fleetwood picked up 82,929 points. It meant Fleetwood finished 58,821 points ahead on the money list.

“It’s kind of amazing,” Fleetwood said. “It’s not kind of sunk in yet. It was great being out there today trying to win it. It really was out of my control over the last few holes. A year’s craft has come out of this.”

Rose held the lead until he bogeyed the 12th hole. The 37-year-old added another at the par-5 14th when he found water with his second shot. Another dropped shot came at 16 when he found a fairway bunker. He still had a chance to finish No. 1 with an eagle at the last but settled for a birdie to send Fleetwood fans ecstatic.

“I felt like I was in complete control until the 12th hole then I kind of hit the buffers,” Rose said. “I don’t know where it went wrong on the back nine. I’m happy for Tommy. He’s battled hard all year. It’s good for him to finish it off.”

The younger Englishman was a sentimental favorite even if the smart money said Rose would pip him in at the post. Fleetwood played more events in Europe this season, 24 to Rose’s 12. He also led most of the year while Rose came into the equation with consecutive wins in the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open.

Purists will celebrate Fleetwood’s coming of age. He fully deserves the European No. 1 accolade.

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