Matthew Fitzpatrick rallies to win tour’s season finale as runner-up Lee Westwood slips past Reed to win Race to Dubai money title
Three bogeys on the back nine Sunday cost American Patrick Reed in the European Tour’s DP World Tour Championship and allowed two Englishmen to wrest a split decision for the tour's two biggest prizes of 2020.
Reed, who entered the 2020 finale atop the season-long Race to Dubai standings, stumbled with three bogeys on his final seven holes at Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Earth Course in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and settled for a 2-under 70 and share of third place. Matthew Fitzpatrick shot 4-under 68 for a 15-under 273 total and one-stroke victory over countryman Lee Westwood (68), who slipped past Reed for the season title and $2 million bonus. Fitzpatrick earned $3 million from the $8 million purse (scores).
It was the third season money title for Westwood, who also won in 2000 and 2009.
“It’s been a bizarre year for so many reasons,” said Westwood, noting the tour’s four-month shutdown as the COVID-19 pandemic surged in the spring and summer. “The European Tour, first and foremost, did an incredible job to pick up the season from July. It was an exciting finish to the year.”
Twenty years ago, Westwood won his first season title on his home tour, breaking a streak of seven consecutive titles by Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie for what had been known as the Order of Merit.
“It’s not getting any easier. I’m not getting any younger,” said Westwood, 47, who ranks 25th all-time in victories on the European Tour, with 25.” I’m just enjoying playing golf and playing in these big tournaments against these great young players.”
Fitzpatrick, 26, won his second DP World Tour Championship in the past four seasons and his sixth career title on the European Tour. Though the Earth Course has a reputation as a place for bombers, Fitzpatrick broke through on the greens. He needed only 27 putts and holed 72 feet of putts in a week during which he ranked first in strokes gained putting, at 1.53. Though he also ranked first in driving accuracy, at 76.8 percent of fairways hit, Fitzpatrick credited his clutch play on the greens to his work with instructor Phil Kenyon.
“I don't want to jinx it, touch wood, but I've been working with Phil Kenyon for a long time now, and I've used the same style of putter for a long time, since I was 14,” said Fitzpatrick, who won the 2013 U.S. Amateur before a brief one-semester college career at Northwestern in the fall of 2013. “I've always been a good putter statistically.
“I putted poorly my last month or so in America, and I had not seen Phil for a while. Now, I spent a good bit of time with Phil last week. I'm not saying the stuff we worked on was anything I took into the tournament, but stuff to keep chipping away at.
“I don't know, maybe just having him around and going and talking to him about things just gave me a bit more confidence this week. I love these greens. I love Bermudagreens, and these are like glass this week. I felt very comfortable.”
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