Nine aim to be first cross the finish line in Race to Dubai
DUBAI // A year ago, it was all over but the cheque-writing.
Rory McIlroy steamrollered everyone in the second half of 2012 and had secured the Race to Dubai season title and US$1 million (Dh3.7m) bonus before he set foot on Jumeirah Golf Estates property.
By comparison, the circumstances this year could not be more volatile.
Nine players remain in contention for the Race to Dubai title this week at the DP World Tour Championship, and the top three players control their own fate at the European Tour’s season finale.
Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson, the former Dubai resident, who leads the points list, can clinch the title and prize bonus with a victory, regardless of what anybody else does. Each also can win the bonus by finishing in the top five, depending on where the other leaders fall.
“The Race to Dubai was all wrapped up last year,” Rose said. “Whereas, this year, I think it’s shaping up for a really exciting finish.”
In 2011, after a superlative season in which he climbed to world No 1, Luke Donald largely had the Race to Dubai crown secured by the time the finale rolled round.
Not since 2010 has the charge to the finish line been so crowded with contenders.
The six players with lesser shots at the seasonal points crown need the leaders to faint, en masse, but the winner reasonably could come from that list; it includes three of the hottest players on the European Tour, in Ian Poulter, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Victor Dubuisson.
Poulter ranks fourth in points and has finished second and fifth over the past two weeks. He can win the Race to Dubai title by finishing third or better, depending on how the other leaders fare.
Jamie Donaldson, the Abu Dhabi winner in January, stands at No 5 in points and must finish second or better to have any chance at the overall title.
Fernandez-Castano, who won the Race to Dubai’s Final Series opener in China three weeks ago, is sixth and needs a victory to have any chance at the points title.
Thongchai Jaidee and Richard Sterne at Nos 7-8 in points, respectively, like Fernandez-Castano, need a victory.
At ninth in points, Dubuisson might need a major alignment of planets to pull off a first-place finish, but he won his first tour title last week in Turkey.
The 23-year-old Frenchman not only needs to win to have a chance at the points title, but needs major upheaval among the eight players ahead of him.
Updated: November 12, 2013 04:00 AM