Bezuidenhout maintains world ranking with Dubai finish

Christiaan Bezuidenhout rounded out his brilliant 2020 season on Sunday with a closing two-under-par 70 in the European Tour’s DP World Tour Championship to finish in a share of 14th place and seventh on the Race to Dubai.

He will head to the holiday season steady in 35th spot on the Official World Golf Ranking list, ensuring he will be in the Masters next year as a start to a year in which his seemingly boundless potential will unfold on a world stage.

Bezuidenhout started his final round substantially out of contention at four-under-par as Matthew Fitzpatrick went on to take the tournament title at 15-under-par, and Lee Westwood, with his second-place finish, wrapped up the European Tour’s number one spot for the third time. The South African Open champion made three quick birdies in his first seven holes to move to seven-under, but a bogey on eight stopped him in his tracks.

He regained the shot with a birdie on the 14th, but he dropped again on 15 and 16. He rounded off his day with a closing birdie on 18.

Ahead of him, and behind the action which decided the tournament, Branden Grace pieced together a closing 69 to finish in a share of eighth place with world number 10 Tyrell Hatton and round out a year in which he will feel he underachieved despite the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dean Burmester, Garrick Higgo and Erik van Rooyen all closed strongly to share 14th spot with Bezuidenhout – Burmester with a 67, Higgo a 69 and Van Rooyen a 71. Burmester moved up to 41st on the Race to Dubai rankings, Higgo to 60th and Van Rooyen edged up one spot to 13th, making him the third-best South African behind Bezuidenhout and Louis Oosthuizen in 10th.

Wilco Nienaber overcame his poor start to the tournament to close with a five-under 67, which saw him finish in a share of 23rd and moved him up to 46th on the final Race to Dubai Rankings. Also in 23rd were Shaun Norris and Brandon Stone, who finished in 63rd and 33rd respectively on the season’s standings.

George Coetzee’s one-under 71 on Sunday saw him finish 29th and slip to 40th on the rankings. Justin Harding limped to the finish in three-over 75 which saw him in a share of 48th place and down to 67th on the Race to Dubai.

Fitzpatrick entered the final day on the Earth Course in a share of the lead but after starting his round with four birdies, he held a commanding lead and was on course to win the Race to Dubai.

Westwood birdied two of his last three holes to snatch solo second and be crowned European number one but Fitzpatrick matched his 68 to finish at 15-under, one shot clear of his fellow Englishman at the top of the leaderboard, and win his first Rolex Series title.

Patrick Reed entered the week on top of the Race to Dubai Rankings and remained there for much of the day but bogeys on the 16th and 17th saw him finish one shot away from being the first American to take Europe’s season-long honours at 13-under.

Norwegian Viktor Hovland finished alongside Reed, one shot clear of Finn Sami Välimäki and England’s Laurie Canter, with Frenchman Victor Perez at 10-under.

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