- Tommy Fleetwood led the DP World Tour Championship for much of the final day
- But eventually came up short as Nicolai Hojgaard sealed his third Tour title
- For Fleetwood it was another strong campaign but ultimately another near-miss
After a fast start and slow finish there was the familiar feeling of an excellent week coming up short for Tommy Fleetwood. Just like his favourite football club, he paid the price for stepping a little too far outside the margins.
With a prize of £2.5million in sight, this devotee of Everton had led the DP World Tour Championship for much of the final day. That it closed with him reflecting on a sixth top-five in a winless season will be the cause of some regret.
He had bolted from the blocks with a birdie and an eagle in his opening two holes, but at the key point, when he stood on the green of the par-three 17th, it suddenly shifted south. Needing only a par to remain within one of Nicolai Hojgaard going into the last, a tricky but attackable par-five, he three-putted from 50-feet for bogey.
After merely parring the 18th via a wild drive into the wood chippings, the final accounts of his 68 placed him in a share for second on 19 under – a fine finish in a strong campaign but ultimately another near-miss.
The spoils instead went to his Ryder Cup team-mate Hojgaard, who closed with five birdies in his final six holes for 64 and a 21 under total. The Dane’s satisfaction of a third DP World Tour title at the age of 22 will be considerable, but so will be the regret that his twin brother, Rasmus, fell one spot short in the seasonal rankings in which 10 cards were available for the 2024 PGA Tour. Ecstasy and agony within the same family.
Dane Nicolai Hojgaard celebrated winning his third DP World Tour title at the age of 22
Tommy Fleetwood endured the familiar feeling of an excellent week coming up short
Fleetwood led DP World Tour Championship for much of the final day before Hojgaard closed with five birdies in his final six holes for 64 and a 21 under total
Nicolai Hojgaard, who will be among those playing for bigger jackpots in the US next season, said: ‘This is the sweetest way to finish the year. But I really wanted my brother to get that card. I feel sorry for Ras but he’s going to bounce back.’
Joining Fleetwood in a tie for second was Matt Wallace, the overnight leader who was unable to replicate the splendour of his third-round 60 by carding 69, and Viktor Hovland. Each of them found water at the last as they chased the eagles necessary for a play-off.
For Rory McIlroy, playing for the first time since the Ryder Cup, the season ended with a 70. In his tie for 22nd, he carded only one round in the sixties all week and will now analyse a campaign in which he won a fifth Race to Dubai crown but failed to land a fifth major.
In targeting Colin Montgomerie’s record of eight Order of Merit titles, the 34-year-old said: ‘I think I’ve still got a good eight to 10 years left in me where I can play at the top, top level. I want to try to get past Monty.’
Jon Rahm tied for fifth amid renewed whispers that LIV will make another approach for the Masters champion. Those were firmly dismissed by figures close to the Spaniard in a reminder that much of this season has been contested away from the course.
Fleetwood finishes the season with a sixth top-five in a winless campaign and on the final day bolted from the blocks with a birdie and an eagle in his opening two holes