Race to Dubai: Tommy Fleetwood's title defence over

Florence Fletcher
November 20, 2018

Reed's birdie on the 18th meant he finished in a tie for second on -16 with Wallace, whose final round 68 capped an excellent week.

The Race to Dubai was virtually decided in favor of Francesco Molinari after his best friend and only rival for the title, Tommy Fleetwood slipped down the leaderboard with a two-over par 74 round.

But Reed then missed the green on the par-3 17th to drop a shot while Willett hit a ideal approach for birdie to go two shots clear of clubhouse leader Wallace going into the final hole.

Willett missed five of his first seven cuts this season but a tied-eighth finish at the Italian Open sparked his campaign to life, before he claimed his sixth European Tour title on the Earth Course.

"I'm massively proud of myself", an emotional Willett told Sky Sports.

"It's been a lot of hard work".

Willett held a two-shot lead on the 18th tee after making a birdie on the 17th, but pushed his tee shot slightly into the bank of a creek that divides the 18th fairway, and then hit a courageous second shot from the rocks before making par. You kind of know when your time's up.

"It's going to be nice to get back home and lock the door, do nothing and look forward at where we want to play and what we want to play in", Willett told Press Association Sport.

"Today pretty much summed up the second half of the season".

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'I don't know who is more exhausted between Tommy and I, ' he added.

Italy's Francesco Molinari is the new European Tour No. 1 despite posting a last day 71 for a six-under par tally and a share of 21st place.

'Incredible, incredible, ' said Molinari, who embraced Fleetwood on the clubhouse steps.

Willett's final round of 68 at Jumeirah Golf Estates saw him finish 18 under par, two shots ahead of fellow Englishman Matt Wallace and current Masters champion Patrick Reed.

"This morning on the first tee the announcement is the victor of The Open Championship, Race to Dubai leader, it doesn't sound real at the moment".

"It's more than I ever dreamed of achieving", said 36-year-old Molinari. To achieve those things in one single season is just incredible.

The amiable Turin native won his first major with an Open triumph at Carnoustie in July, before going on to make Ryder Cup history by becoming the first European to win all five points in the victory over the United States at Le Golf National. Four of those were won in a pairing with Fleetwood. "I'm not going to lie, it would be an wonderful thing to win, but regardless of what happens, just looking more in the long-term of my career, really, is pretty good".

"He's obviously a great guy and a super talented player and I'm sure being younger than me, he's going to win a few more Race to Dubais".

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