Lee Westwood carried off another European Tour honor on Sunday by landing atop the European Tour Order of Merit for the third time in his career. Westwood, 47, first collected the honor 20 years ago.
Westwood clinched it this time on the strength of a runner-up finish at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, the European Tour’s season finale. He fired a final-round 68 and finished one shot behind winner Matthew Fitzpatrick, just 26.
It was a bit of a wild finish at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. A number of players were in the mix to win the title, including Patrick Reed, who was also aiming to become the first American to win the European Tour money title. Reed, however, dropped shots at Nos. 16 and 17. Likewise, Laurie Canter made a double-bogey on No. 17, clearing the way for Fitzpatrick to win the DP title with a par on 18.
It’s his second victory in this event, which he also won in 2016.
SCORES: DP World Tour Championship
— Matt Fitzpatrick (@MattFitz94) December 13, 2020
Even though Fitzpatrick won the event, Westwood arguably won the day. The Englishman’s year began with a win at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, his 25th European Tour title and the one that made him the first active player to win in four decades.
His previous two Harry Vardon trophies came in 2000 and 2009.
“It’s been 20 years since I sat there at Valderrama and finished second in the American Express Championship to win the Volvo Order of Merit as it was back then,” he said. “I won here in 2009 to win the Race to Dubai and now I’ve finished second to win it today.
“They have all been very different. I guess 2000, sort of I was winning a lot, but I was still up and coming. It was only my seventh year on Tour. 2009, I was honing in on the best player in the world spot, and I needed to win here to win the Race to Dubai, and I managed to do that.
“And then this one, I’m kind of the more mature player on the European Tour now. It wasn’t something I set out to do at the start of the year, but it shows the consistency I’ve shown. The motivation’s never changed, really. I get to get up each day and do the job I love. I’ve always wanted to be a golfer and I don’t want it to end.”
The Race to Dubai title suddenly opens up the possibility that Westwood might qualify for the Ryder Cup, pushed back from 2020 to 2021 because of the COVID pandemic. It would be his 11th appearance as a player after serving as a vice captain in 2018.
Smiles all round…20 years on from my 1st Race to Dubai title, absolutely honoured to pick up my 3rd.
— Lee Westwood (@WestwoodLee) December 13, 2020
“I’d love to play again, obviously,” he said. “It beats watching. There’s obviously a lot less pressure watching the lads being Vice Captain.
“If I qualify for the team then I’m clearly good enough, and that’s the way I’m going to play it. I can still turn up to the biggest tournaments and compete as I proved at the start of the year in Abu Dhabi; the U.S. Open where I bogeyed the last two holes and, if I hadn’t, I’d have finished fifth, and here.”
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/12/13/lee-westwood-european-tour-race-to-dubai-matthew-fitzpatrick/