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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Nicolai Hojgaard’s birdie burst carries him to Dubai title

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Nicolai Hojgaard rebounded in the final round to take the DP World Tour Championship by two shots and collect his first title of the season.

“I put in so much hard work in the last couple years, and this has been a really good year if I look back on it. The only thing that was missing was a win, and to get it this week, against this field, is unbelievable,” said Hojgaard.

The 22-year-old Dane took $3 million for winning the $10.5m event and climbed to second in the final Race to Dubai standings behind Rory McIlroy.

But Nicolai’s identical twin Rasmus fell one place short of securing the last of the 10 PGA Tour cards for next season on offer.

Nicolai Hojgaard had led after both the first two rounds before slipping three shots back on Saturday.

On Sunday, he made three birdies on the outward nine before following a bogey on the 12th with five straight birdies from the 13th.

He agonisingly missed a four-foot birdie putt on the 18th for a 21-under par four-round total of 267 with Viktor Hovland and Tommy Fleetwood still on the course at 20-under.

“Having a putt on the 18th to actually close it out, and let it slip by, it was quite a tough moment for me,” said Hojgaard after he won.

But Englishman Fleetwood three-putted the 17th for a bogey, while Hovland dumped his second shot into the water on the par-5 18th.

Both shot rounds of 68 and joined overnight leader Matt Wallace (69) of England at 19-under par total, two behind Hojgaard, who had the day’s lowest round of 64.

McIlroy shot a two-under 70 to finish in a tie for 22nd but he had secured his fifth Race to Dubai crown before this weekend.

“I think over the last 10 years, I’ve won eight season-long titles between America and here, so it just shows my level of consistency,” he said.

“There are a few guys that can beat me sort of one week or the next week, but I don’t think there’s a lot of people that can beat me throughout the entire season.

“It’s just about trying to be a little more clinical when I get to those weeks where I have chances to win.”

Rasmus Hojgaard shot a 69 to finish tied for 11th but that left him 18th in the Race to Dubai. Japan’s Ryo Hisatsune at No. 17 took the tenth card.

The 10 players who secured their PGA Tour cards included Adrian Meronk, Ryan Fox, Victor Perez, Thorbjorn Olesen, Alexander Bjork, Sami Valimaki, Robert MacIntyre, Jorge Campillo, Matthieu Pavon and Hisatsune.

The 2023-24 season of the DP World Tour begins next week in South Africa and Australia with the Jo’burg Open and the Australian PGA Championship.


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