Golf: Sheffield United fan Matt Fitzpatrick does himself proud in Dubai
Sheffield’s Matt Fitzpatrick made a stout defence of his DP World Tour Championship crown but eventually surrendered it to Collin Morikawa, despite producing some superb golf in Dubai.
Fitzpatrick recorded six birdies in the first 10 holes of the final round at the Earth Course, briefly taking the lead before his hopes suffered a major blow when he found the water at the 16th.
Morikawa, the world number two and reigning Open champion, took advantage to finish three strokes ahead of the 27-year-old who tied for second with Sweden’s Alexander Bjork.
The American, who carded a bogey free weekend, finished on 17 under and Fitzpatrick said: “I thought at the end of my round that I was going to finish a couple short but I would have taken it at the start of the day.
“I was pleased with the way I played. I only really had one bad shot all weekend, and not a great drive at the 16th. But it was also nice to go out there and make some putts which I hadn’t been doing as I would have liked at the start.”
“I was just going out there to have a good end to my European Tour season,” Fitzpatrick added. “And I think I did that.”
Rory McIlroy enjoyed a one shot lead at the start of play but saw his hopes of victory disappear during a torrid run towards the 18th, bogeying three of his final four holes. That saw the Northern Irishman end the tournament in sixth, level with Ian Poulter and Dean Burmester on 12 under.
Morikawa admitted he had been tracking Fitzpatrick’s progress up the leaderboard as the drama unfolded.
“I just kept telling myself to focus,” Morikawa said, after becoming the first US golfer to top the European Tour’s money list. “I’m excited for this moment. It’s very special and an honour.”
"I channelled that energy and excitement,” he added. “I just wanted to keep hitting good shot after good shot. Then the putts started dropping and that’s also fun. To put my name against so many greats is really special.”