Golf

Nicolai Hojgaard wins season-ending World Tour Championship

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Nicolai Hojgaard claimed the biggest title of his career Sunday after running off five straight birdies down the stretch to overtake Tommy Fleetwood and win the season-ending World Tour Championship by two strokes on the European tour.

The 22-year-old Dane delivered a clinic in iron play to set up close-range birdies from Nos. 13-17, shoot 8-under 64 and finish the tournament on 21-under par.

Fleetwood, playing in the final group, bogeyed No. 17 and had to eagle the par-5 final hole. His third shot settled beyond the flag, prompting Hojgaard to celebrate in the scoring hut.

Hojgaard has won a tournament for three consecutive years on the European tour, but this was easily his biggest and earned him $3 million. Coming off the back of being a rookie in the winning European team at the Ryder Cup outside Rome last month, it has been a perfect end to the year to one of the most highly rated young players on the continent.

“The only thing missing was a win,” said Hojgaard, who was two shots behind walking off the 12th green. “And to get it this week is unbelievable.

“This is the sweetest way to finish the year.”

Fleetwood (68) finished in a tie for second place with Viktor Hovland (68) and third-round leader Matt Wallace (69) on a day when the lead changed repeatedly at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

While Nicolai Hojgaard was able to celebrate, it proved to be something of a painful day for his twin brother, Rasmus.

He looked to be on course to claim one of the 10 PGA Tour cards on offer to the top 10 players in the season-ending Race to Dubai rankings who are not already exempt.

A half-hour stretch on the 18th hole changed everything, though. Rasmus Hojgaard hit his second shot into the water guarding the green and made par. Matthieu Pavon followed him and hit a wedge inside 2 feet for a birdie that lifted him above Hojgaard, who missed out on PGA Tour status by less than 27 points.

The 10 players to get potentially lucrative cards across the Atlantic were Adrian Meronk, Ryan Fox, Victor Perez, Thorbjørn Olesen, Alexander Björk, Sami Valimaki, Robert MacIntyre, Pavon, Jorge Campillo and Ryo Hisatsune.

Nicolai Hojgaard jumped to second place in the Race to Dubai rankings behind Rory McIlroy, who had already been crowned as European golf’s No. 1 player for the fifth time.

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