England’s Tommy Fleetwood has set his sights on becoming world No1 after holding off the challenge of compatriot Justin Rose to win the Race To Dubai on Sunday.
Fleetwood finished tied for 21st at the DP World Tour Championship, eight shots adrift of winner Jon Rahm but just enough to end the European Tour season at the top of the standings for the first time, as Rose fell one stroke short of snatching the crown.
Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance of overtaking the 26-year-old, was just two shots away from a play-off that could have seen him usurp Fleetwood and Rose.
“My ultimate goal in life is to be the best player in the world. That will always be the same. Whether I achieve it or not is another thing but I’ll always strive for that,” said Fleetwood.
“I’ll always have 2017 Race to Dubai No1. It’s a very big thing to achieve. The big events, they will always be on our minds. There’s a lot around Majors. I’d love to have a couple by the time I’m done.”
Fleetwood, whose two wins this year came in Abu Dhabi and France, said he derived particular pride from pipping 2013 US Open winner and current Olympic champion Rose.
“I have nothing but respect for him and what he’s done in his career. He’s got a hell of a mantelpiece, I’m sure,” he added.
“I would have preferred it to have been easier but at the same time, it’s been absolutely brilliant going head-to-head and a bit of a dogfight with, in my eyes, one of the greatest players in recent times.”
Rose, who was aiming for a third tournament win in a row, led by one shot at the turn but three bogeys on the back nine left him needing an eagle at 18 for the Race To Dubai and he could only muster a birdie.
He finished in a share of fourth with Garcia, who made eight birdied in a round of 65 to end on 17 under par, two behind fellow Spaniard Rahm.
Rahm, awarded the tour’s rookie of the year award in recognition of a sensational first full season that has seen him break into the world top five, carded a bogey-free 67 to finish one ahead of Ireland’s Shane Lowry, who shot a brilliant 63, and Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
“I could not be more proud of what I’ve done this week,” said the 23-year-old, who overtook Garcia to finish third in the Race To Dubai.
“I didn’t plan on being here at the beginning of the year and I sure didn’t plan on winning it so it’s an incredible feeling.”