Burmester caps fine European season with top 10 in Dubai

Dean Burmester capped a superb season on the European Tour with a closing three-under-par 69 on Sunday to finish in a share of sixth in the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai.

His solid week – it was four consecutive 69s for the reigning South African PGA champion – saw him climb one position on the Race to Dubai rankings as he finished in 18th place, comfortably his best finish in the European Tour after he finished in 41st last year, and in 42nd in 2017 and 2018.

But the story of the day was how Open champion Collin Morikawa sliced through the field to win both the tournament and the Race to Dubai, becoming the first American to ever top the European Tour rankings. Morikawa carded a closing six-under-par 66 to finish three shots clear of his nearest challenger on 17-under-par for the week. In a share of second were last year’s champion Matt Fitzpatrick and Alexander Bjork.

Morikawa birdied five of his last seven holes having entered the final round three shots off the lead but comfortably ahead of all his rivals for the Race to Dubai title. That all changed as defending champion Fitzpatrick made a surge up the leaderboard and all of a sudden it was all to play for.

But Morikawa, who was one-under for his round after 11 holes, found another gear and signed for a bogey-free 66. Dane Nicolai Højgaard and Scot Robert MacIntyre finished at 13-under, a shot clear of Burmester, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and England’s Ian Poulter. McIlroy, a two-time winner of this event, had led for most of the day but dropped three shots in his final four holes to sign for a 74.

Garrick Higgo had the best closing round of the four South Africans in the field, his closing five-under 67 lifting him to a share of 21st, as he finished 29th on the Race to Dubai. Christiaan Bezuidenhout finished in 40th on the rankings after his closing two-under 70 saw him share 32nd in the tournament on six-under. Justin Harding battled to a five-over 77 in the final round, finishing in a share of 50th and 28th in the Race to Dubai.

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