European Tour Release, 12 November 2018:
Englishman Lee Westwood catapulted into the top 20 of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai after rolling back the years by carding a stunning final round 64 to win his first Rolex Series title at the Nedbank Challenge hosted by Gary Player.
The 45-year-old, who won the DP World Tour Championship and Race to Dubai double at the inaugural event in 2009, entered the final day at Gary Player Country Club three shots behind Sergio Garcia. Westwood came racing out of the blocks with an eagle at the second to move joint-top after the Spaniard dropped a shot on the first.
The two men and South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen went toe-to-toe in an enthralling final round, but Westwood emerged as top dog with five birdies in the final eight holes to seal his first title since the Maybank Malaysian Open in 2014.
“It’s great to see a former DP World Tour Championship winner back to winning ways in a timely fashion ahead of our tenth-anniversary event in Dubai,” said Nick Tarratt, Director, European Tour International Dubai Office. “Lee played some great golf in South Africa and we can’t wait to welcome him back to Jumeirah Golf Estates, where he won the first ever DP World Tour Championship on the iconic Earth course. The field has now taken shape and we are set to see some of the biggest names in golf to Dubai this week.”
With the triumph, the former World Number One collects 1,250,000 Race to Dubai points and makes significant strides from 45th to 16th in the Race to Dubai Rankings on 2,099,257 points.
“I’m a bit emotional, to be honest,” said Westwood. “You’re never sure whether you’re going to be able to do it again. Until now my emotions have felt really under control all day, which is what I’ve been working hard on. I was just trying to hit fairways and stick to my game-plan and hit it in the right places.
“I’ve got a bit of a process that I’m going through with my golf swing and I’m starting to see better shots. The seven-iron into 17 is probably one of the best shots I’ve ever hit.”
Garcia signed for a final round 70, which was enough to finish one ahead of Oosthuizen in second place. The 2017 Masters Champion picked up 832,750 Race to Dubai points and moves from 30th to 17th in the Rankings with a season tally of 2,006,209 points.
Meanwhile, the tournament was the final chance to qualify for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, with 60 of the top players in the Race to Dubai Rankings making the trip to the emirate this week.
South Africa’s Darren Fichardt and Englishman Aaron Rai sealed their places after both men jumped into the top 64. While Fichardt will be making his third appearance in Dubai after moving from 72nd to 58th in the Rankings, 2017 Challenge Tour graduate Rai will be making his debut at Jumeirah Golf Estates after surging from 75th to 55th with an eighth-place finish.
The DP World Tour Championship takes place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from Thursday 15 to Sunday 18 November.
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