Collin Morikawa wins DP World Tour Championship and Race to Dubai title

Collin Morikawa became the first American to win the European Tour’s season-long Race to Dubai money-list after clinching the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

The world number two carded a final round six-under 66 to finish on 17-under, three shots clear of defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick and Alexander Bjork. Robert MacIntyre and Nicolai Hojgaard finished four strokes off the pace in a share of fourth, while Rory McIlroy, who had led after three rounds, finished tied sixth.

24-year-old Morikawa shot a superb 31 on the back nine, including five birdies in his last seven holes, to stretch away from a crowded leaderboard. With all four rounds in the 60s (68-68-69-66), Morikawa’s trademark approach irons, matched by clutch putting, saw him overturn a three-shot deficit on the final day at Jumeriah Golf Estates.

With back-to-back birdies from the 14th, he then pulled clear of the field by sinking a putt from 20 feet at the par-three 17th, followed by a birdie at the par-five 18th to complete a resounding victory.

He entered the Race to Dubai finale at the top of the standings but had five players who could have overtaken him. He is only the fourth player to win both the Rolex Series DP World Tour Championship and Race to Dubai title in the same year.

It capped a brilliant season for Morikawa after winning the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s in July following his victory at the WGC-Workday Championship in February. In 2020 he won his first major title at the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park.

During his winner’s speech, Morikawa said: “It’s special, it’s an honour, really, to be the first American to do that on The European Tour to put my name against many, many great Hall of Famers, it’s special. I get touched up just talking about that.”

This season’s DP World Tour Championship marked the end of the European Tour as it will be known as the DP World Tour from the start of the 2022 season, which begins at the Joburg Open on November 25. The Tour features a total prize fund in excess of $200m across 47 events in 27 countries.

Stroke of bad luck for McIlroy

McIlroy held a one-shot lead with five holes remaining but failed to take advantage of a ten-foot birdie attempt at the 14th before he suffered a stroke of misfortune when his short approach to the 15th clattered the pin and rebounded into a bunker.

The 32-year-old bogeyed the hole and then dropped another shot at the 16th before finding water with his approach into the 18th saw him drop another. It was a disappointing finish to a promising week for the Northern Irishman’s whose two-over 74 saw him finish alongside Ian Poulter and Dean Burmester.

It could have been back-to-back wins for McIlroy after winning the the CJ Cup by one shot ahead of Morikawa at the Summit Club in Las Vegas in October, but this time the American got the upper hand in what could develop into a rivalry for years to come. 

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