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European Tour chief Keith Pelley couldn’t have possibly wished for a better ending to the 2017 season.
Although Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson were missing in the Middle East through injury, the other big names shone with the Race to Dubai battle between Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose going right down to the bitter end, while Jon Rahm captured his third win of the calendar year.
The season-ending CME Group Tour Championship on the LPGA Tour wasn’t short of drama either so, without further ado, here’s a brief lowdown of what happened in the golf world at the weekend.
European Tour: Rahm roars in Dubai
Jon Rahm’s stock continues to rise as he carded a closing 67 to win the DP World Tour Championship and climb to No.4 in the world.
The Spaniard came home in 33 to get to 19-under-par for his second Rolex Series title, edging out Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry by one shot after Justin Rose’s back nine problems.
Key quote: “It’s hard to sum it up. I could not be more proud of what I’ve done this week. I didn’t plan on being here at the beginning of the year and I sure didn’t plan on winning it so it’s an incredible feeling.”
…and Fleetwood is crowned European No.1
A T21 finish was enough to see Tommy Fleetwood cap a sensational season by winning the Race to Dubai title.
The Englishman went into the final event with a 256,737-point advantage over Rose and had looked likely to lose out to his fellow Englishman after closing with back-to-back bogeys.
However, Rose himself made three back nine bogeys to push him down the leaderboard into a tie for fourth. He need to finish alone in fourth to capture the title he won for the first time back in 2007.
Key quote: “My ultimate goal in life is to be the best player in the world. That will always be the same. Whether I achieve it or not is another thing but I’ll always strive for that.”
PGA Tour: Austin cooks up a storm
Now that’s how to announce yourself on the PGA Tour. In just his 14th career start, 26-year-old Austin Cook fired a final-round three-under-par 67 to win the RSM Classic by four strokes over J.J. Spaun.
He hadn’t won a tournament since a 2014 Adams Tour Winter Series mini-tour event, which earned him $4,000. This win, meanwhile, netted him a cool $1.08m.
Key quote: “My goal coming into the year was to win Rookie of the Year, and I’m on a good path so far.”
LPGA Tour: Jutanugarn seizes on Lexi error
Ariya Jutanugarn birdied the final two holes to capture the $500,000 prize at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.
Playing two groups behind Lexi Thompson, who had missed from 2ft, Jutanugarn hit her approach shot to 20ft and calmly rolled in the putt, ending what had been a disappointing year on a high.
Key quote: “To be honest, I had no expectation at all [this week],” Jutanugarn said. “I really did not think about the outcome. I really focused on the things I can control and I had so much fun this week.”
…but Lexi wins Race to CME Globe
Despite her obvious disappointment at not being able to close out the win, Thompson did win the $1m bonus from winning the Race to CME Globe title.
Key quote: “Just going through what I have this whole year and seeing how strong I am and how I got through it all and still won two tournaments, got five, six seconds, I don’t even know, I think it just shows I just moved on.”
LET: First title for Boutier
France’s Céline Boutier won her first Ladies European Tour title by a four-stroke margin at the Sanya Ladies Open in Hainan, China.
With a final round of 68, the 24-year-old Parisienne recorded a 54-hole total of 12-under-par and became the second French rookie to win in a fortnight after Camille Chevalier’s victory at the Hero Women’s Indian Open.
Key quote: “It’s amazing. It’s my first time playing in this event and my first time in China, so I couldn’t have expected the week to have gone any better.”
Japan Tour: Brooks blitzes the field
Brooks Koepka was playing in Japan last week and successfully defended his Dunlop Phoenix title, winning by nine strokes!
The 2017 US Open champion shot a final-round four-under 67 to put him at 20-under-par. He birdied the first two holes and never looked back, surging clear of Xander Schauffele, Prayad Marksaeng and Lee Sang-hee, who finished in a tie for second.
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