Erik Van Rooyen booked his spot in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship after jumping into the top ten of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai following a thrilling final day battle with Matthew Fitzpatrick at the Scandinavian Invitation.
The South African Erik Van Rooyen, who was last season’s European Challenge Tour Graduate of the Year, started the final day at Hills Golf & Sports Club with a one-shot lead before stretching that to three shots on the back nine. A birdie-birdie finish from Fitzpatrick closed the gap and when Van Rooyen bogeyed the 17th, the players were tied at 18 under. But the 29-year-old held his nerve for a closing birdie to seal a one-stroke victory and a maiden European Tour title.
“It’s too good, it’s hard to describe,” said Van Rooyen, who climbs up to ninth from 19th in the Race to Dubai Rankings after picking up 460 Race to Dubai points.
“I was so nervous on 18. On 17 I was fine, I just didn’t hit that putt hard enough and then I asked (caddie) Alex, ‘what are we at?’ and he told me that Matt went birdie-birdie.
“I’ve been putting so well all day and to hole that one to win my first title is pretty cool.I’ve gone close a bunch of times and every time I’m in contention the question gets asked. I’m just so proud of myself and Alex and everybody, I’m over the moon.”
2016 DP World Tour Championship winner Fitzpatrick edged closer to the top five of the Race to Dubai Rankings and a slice of the Race to Dubai bonus pool after moving from ninth to sixth with his third runner-up finish of the season.
Meanwhile, Dean Burmester and two-time DP World Tour Championship winner Henrik Stenson finished four shots further back to share third place in Gothenburg. Burmester’s best result of the season gives him some much-needed Race to Dubai points with the South African making his way up to 101st from 142nd in the Rankings.
Stenson, who had aced the par 3 sixth to take a share of the lead early in the final round, jumps up to 24th from 35th in the Rankings after collecting 154.5 Race to Dubai points.
The top 50 players in the Race to Dubai Rankings will contest the season-ending US$8million DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai from November 21-24 where US$3 million will be up for grabs for the winner, making it the richest prize in world tournament golf.