Matt Fitzpatrick hopes to take advantage of knowing Dubai’s Earth Course ‘like the back of my hand’ as Englishman seeks to end the season by being crowned European No 1
- Matt Fitzpatrick is feeling bullish ahead of the DP World Tour Championship
- He has to win the final event of the Race to Dubai to claim the season-long title
- Americans Collin Morikawa and Billy Horschel seeking to make history this week
The odds may be prohibitive against one of three Englishmen denying either of two Americans their place in history here this week, but Matt Fitzpatrick is certainly up for the challenge. ‘I really fancy my chances,’ said the Sheffield man.
Like Tyrrell Hatton and Paul Casey, Fitzpatrick has to win the final event of the Race to Dubai, the DP World Tour Championship, and hope for favours from Collin Morikawa and Billy Horschel to claim the season-long title.
Adding intrigue is the fact the English trio are all Middle East specialists — between them, they are title-holders of the three biggest tournaments played in the region. So it’s not surprising that 27-year-old Fitzpatrick is feeling bullish. Not only is he the defending champion this week, he also won the tournament in 2016, with Hatton runner-up.
Matt Fitzpatrick is feeling bullish ahead of the DP World Tour Championship this week
Indeed, if you had to hand-pick a venue for him to chase down the Americans, it would be the Earth Course.
‘It’s funny, when I first played it people said it would be too long for me, but I’m pretty good with my long irons and the greens are so pure,’ he reasoned.
Fitzpatrick believes it is a course that favours those who have learned its wiles and mysteries — and Morikawa has played it just once, and Horschel is making his debut.
‘I know this one like the back of my hand and feel so comfortable here,’ said Fitzpatrick. ‘That has to count in my favour.’
Fitzpatrick has to win the final event of the Race to Dubai, the DP World Tour Championship
There’s also the fact he’s pursuing two Americans and we’re only weeks on from Europe’s mauling at the Ryder Cup, where Fitzpatrick was left pointless.
‘It would be nice to stop one of them becoming the first American to win our order of merit,’ he said with a twinkle in his eye. ‘After Whistling Straits, it’s been good to see the victories for Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland and me in the last few weeks. It would be great to be able to say on Sunday: this one’s for Europe!’
It is a long shot. Even with victory, Fitzpatrick would need Morikawa to finish worse than ninth and Horschel worse than sixth.
Hatton and Casey are facing similar scenarios.
The smart money is on the American duo, then, with Morikawa in pole position to continue his remarkable assault on the record books.
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