Tyrell Hatton produced a magnificent final round of 66 to win the Abu Dhabi Championship by four shots on Sunday.

Hatton started the day a stroke adrift of Rory McIlroy, but finished in dominant fashion to secure his fourth Rolex Series title.

The Englishman made a dream start to the 2021 Race to Dubai, closing with a six-under round to end the week well clear on 18 under.

Jason Scrivener matched world number nine Hatton in posting a 66 thanks to an impressive back nine, seeing him finish in second place, a shot ahead of McIlroy.

Hatton's triumph ensured he equalled Jon Rahm's record of Rolex Series successes, having also won the 2017 Italian Open, 2019 Turkish Airlines Open and 2020 BMW PGA Championship.

He made three birdies on the front nine and as many after the turn to seal a sixth European Tour victory at a canter.

McIlroy finished on 13 after signing for a level-par 72, with four bogeys frustrating the Northern Irishman after two gains from his first three holes.

Scrivener went out in 37, but got on a roll after the turn, sparked by an eagle-three at the 10th, followed by five birdies.

Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello took fourth place on 12 under, while Tommy Fleetwood dropped back into a share of seventh on 10 under.

David Lipsky and Marc Warren were unable to finish with a flourish, both carding rounds of 71 to finish joint-fifth.

Rory McIlroy knows he must earn the right to end his wait for glory at the Abu Dhabi Championship after setting up what could be a thrilling final day.

The four-time major winner stormed back into the lead of the tournament on day three to set up a finale that will see him duel with Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood for glory.

McIlroy was five shots behind Hatton overnight but after a strong finish to his delayed second round and a five-under 67 in round three, he now leads by one.

He sits on 13 under for the tournament, closely followed by Hatton at 12 under, while Fleetwood – a two-time winner at the event – is a further shot behind.

McIlroy has won a host of titles in his glittering career, but is yet to triumph in a Rolex Series event.

Having impressively been runner-up in Abu Dhabi four times and also come third on three occasions, he was asked ahead of Sunday's battle whether his time had come.

"I can't go into the day thinking it is my turn," said world number six McIlroy, who had an eagle on the 10th and five birdies.

"I want to make it my turn. I have to go out there and continue to hit the ball like I hit it on the back nine.

"If I can do that and give myself plenty of chances, I will have a really good chance.

"It's so blustery - a different type of golf than we're used to playing in Abu Dhabi. Usually not much wind and you have a chance on every hole but there is a little more scrambling involved and longer putts.

"So I thought I did well. Obviously had that big stroke of luck on 10, the ball hitting the pin and going in. 

"Apart from that, I played well. I drove it much better on the back nine and I hit it much better on the back nine, so I was really encouraged about that."

Hatton was in control of the tournament overnight but now faces a Sunday scrap, though he is relishing the challenge.

"It's pretty cool group to be a part of," said Hatton, who is eyeing a fourth Rolex Series win. 

"I'm sure the standard of golf will be pretty good and I'm hoping that I can play well and give myself a chance to win.

"You're always going to have days like that and you just try and get through it and the good thing is that I'm still in contention going into the final round. 

"Obviously one shot back which isn't ideal but a lot can happen in 18 holes. Hopefully things go my way."

Fleetwood produced consecutive rounds of 67 to move into contention after starting with a 71.

"I played well and solid," he said. "Really good round of golf and just happy to be in contention again."

Rory McIlroy stormed back into the lead of the Abu Dhabi Championship to set up a thrilling final day that will see him duel with Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood for glory.

Three of golf's leading names occupy the top three spots on the leaderboard after a dramatic Saturday at the Rolex Series event.

A 67 from McIlroy moved him to 13 under par for the tournament, one shot clear of Hatton, who dropped back after thriving in round two.

Fleetwood also registered a five-under 67 and sits in striking distance at 11 under.

Marc Warren and David Lipsky are in the hunt at 10 under, while Rafa Cabrera-Bello (-9) will hope a fast start can see him move into contention.

Hatton entered day three in control of the tournament, acknowledging himself he was in "a great position".

But after bad light caused a suspension of play on day two, the first task was to complete the second round, and Hatton's momentum stalled.

He was one over in completing his last five holes while two birdies from McIlroy moved him closer to the Englishman, three shots behind at the start of round three.

It did not get much better for Hatton, who eventually had to settle for a 71, comfortably his worst score of the week.

But he remains right behind world number six McIlroy, who had an eagle and five birdies in a magnificent third round, with bogeys on seven and 13 his only setbacks.

Fleetwood was one of the fortunate players who had completed his round on day two, and he had six birdies on Saturday, picking up a crucial one at 18 to move himself closer to the leaders.

World number three Justin Thomas, in the spotlight after a controversy over his use of a homophobic slur at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii this month, missed the cut. 

The American was two under through 14 holes when play was halted on Friday, but a miserable double-bogey on 18 ended his hopes.

A poor 75 from defending champion Lee Westwood in round three left him out of the running.

Leader McIlroy has enjoyed a remarkable career but victory on Sunday would be the first time he has triumphed in a Rolex Series event.

Despite not winning it, he has an impressive record at this tournament, having been runner-up four times and coming third on three occasions.

Tyrrell Hatton acknowledged he had put himself in a great position for glory at the Abu Dhabi Championship as he surged past overnight leader Rory McIlroy. 

Round two will have to be completed on Saturday after bad light caused a suspension of play a day after fog had impacted the opening round. 

But Englishman Hatton was an impressive five under par for the 13 holes he was able to play, surging on to 12 under for the tournament. 

That gave him a five-shot advantage over a group of four players, including McIlroy, at the Rolex Series event. 

Jason Scrivener, Jazz Janewattananond and Romain Langasque are with McIlroy at seven under. 

"I'm obviously in a great position at the moment," said Hatton. "It was certainly tough out there, so I'm really happy to be five under [for the round]. 

"I held some nice putts and there were a couple of par putts towards the end of my round - nice to hold them and keep a bit of momentum going. 

"It [a long day on Saturday] will be fine. I'll just try and stay loose and see how we go."

Hatton, with his short game thriving, eagled the second hole and then immediately gave one of those shots back at the third. 

But four straight birdies between holes seven and 10 provided him with a commanding lead. 

McIlroy had started the day with a one-shot advantage at eight under and quickly improved to 10 under through three holes. 

However, the Northern Irishman fell apart from there with three bogeys and a double bogey in the 10 holes that followed before the suspension of play gave him some respite after 13. 

Tommy Fleetwood was able to complete his round, an impressive five-under 67 moving him to within a shot of McIlroy as part of a five-man group sitting at six under. 

World number three Justin Thomas, in the spotlight after a controversy over his use of a homophobic slur at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii earlier this month, fared better than he did on day one. 

The American was two under through 14 holes when play was brought to an end, improving to one under for the week but still 11 shots adrift of Hatton. 

Reigning champion Lee Westwood is three under in a tie for 24th position.

Rory McIlroy put his lowest-scoring round at the Abu Dhabi Championship down to precision putting as the four-time major winner shot a first-round 64.

The Northern Irishman, paired with the under-fire Justin Thomas, had to be patient as play was delayed amid fog but he made up for lost time in eye-catching fashion.

McIlroy closed day one on eight under, putting the 31-year-old a shot clear of Ryder Cup team-mate Tyrrell Hatton, with Fabrizio Zanotti a stroke further back.

The delay meant not everyone managed to complete 18 holes, but McIlroy was pleased to be sitting pretty in the clubhouse. 

"A lot of it was very good. I felt like I drove the ball well for the most part. Distance control was really good," McIlroy said of a display which saw him sink four birdies apiece on the front and back nine.

"I think I started off really well and hit a lot of nice iron shots, but honestly it was probably the best I've putted these greens in Abu Dhabi probably in my whole career.

"I've shot some really good scores here but I held some really good ones today.

"And I've always struggled to read them here, but I sort of got my eye in early and kept it going."

After becoming embroiled in recent controversy for his use of a homophobic slur, McIlroy's playing partner Thomas found himself well off the pace on one over.

The American was dropped by sponsor Ralph Lauren following the incident, in which the world number three was heard making an offensive comment by a television microphone when playing at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii earlier this month.

Thomas subsequently apologised for his "inexcusable" use of the slur.

Reigning champion Lee Westwood carded a 69, putting him in a big group on three under, with English compatriot Justin Rose for company, though the Olympic champion managed only 11 holes.

Justin Thomas insists his "embarrassing" and "humiliating" use of a homophobic slur is "not me" and reflected on Ralph Lauren's decision to stop working with him as a result of the incident.

World number three Thomas was heard making the offensive comment by a television microphone when playing at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii earlier this month.

Afterwards, Thomas apologised for his "inexcusable" use of the slur and he again addressed the issue when previewing the Abu Dhabi Championship on the European Tour this weekend. 

"It's humiliating. It's embarrassing. It's not me. It's not a word that I use, but for some reason, it was in there," Thomas said. 

"And that's what I'm trying to figure out as to why it was in there, and just like I said, it's going to be a part of this process and training program or whatever I need to do, not only to prove to myself but prove to my sponsors and prove to those people that don't know who I am that that is indeed not the person I am."

Thomas will be playing without shirt branding in Abu Dhabi after Ralph Lauren opted to end its partnership with the 27-year-old.

Asked about the company's decision, Thomas replied: "I think disappointed is the wrong word. 

"Obviously I was upset. But at the end of the day, they have that right. They had to make the decision that they had to make. I spoke with them along with all my sponsors. 

"Although I apologised, it's like it was then; it's an opportunity for me to grow and I felt like it was something we could have done together and gone through that process. 

"They just felt like they needed to move on. That's exactly what I'm doing, as well. It was a great run that we had and a great partnership, but you know, things will work out on the best."

Thomas confirmed conversations have been held with his other sponsors, adding: "I've had great communication with all of them. 

"It was obviously not calls or e-mails I was hoping or planning to make but I needed to because I have some great long-lasting partnerships with all my sponsors. They know that's not the person that I am.

"They know that's not how I act and although they are far from brushing it to the side just like I am, they understand that this is an opportunity for me to educate myself, grow, become a better person, and just like they hope, I know that I'll become a better man and a better person because of it, and they are going to kind of help me along that process."

Thomas earned the backing of Rory McIlroy, who is confident his on-course rival will learn from his error in judgement.

"I think he's already responded really, really well," the four-time major winner said. 

"I think he realised he made a big mistake as soon as it was brought to him and he completely owned up to it. He said he messed up; he's going to try to be better. 

"And you know, Justin is true to his word. He will be. If anything, it will probably just make him a better person than he already is, which is hard because he's already a great guy."

Golf superstars including Tiger Woods and defending champion Dustin Johnson are set to play in front of "limited" crowds at the Masters, it was announced on Tuesday.

Last year's tournament was delayed from April to November because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there were no spectators allowed for that edition of the major at Augusta National.

That is set to change in 2021, says organisers, who are preparing to welcome a small number of Augusta's 'patrons' to watch the action unfold.

Full attendance was ruled out given the continuing need for social distancing, and those allowed entry must adhere to strict health protocols.

Augusta National club chairman Fred Ridley said: “Following the successful conduct of the Masters tournament last November with only essential personnel, we are confident in our ability to responsibly invite a limited number of patrons to Augusta National in April.

"As with the November Masters, we will implement practices and policies that will protect the health and safety of everyone in attendance.

"Nothing is, or will be, more important than the well-being of all involved. While we are disappointed that we will be unable to accommodate a full complement of patrons this year, we will continue our efforts to ensure that all who purchased tickets from Augusta National will have access in 2022, provided conditions improve."

The Masters is scheduled to take place at its Georgia home from April 8 to 11, with Johnson looking to follow up the stunning 20-under-par performance that saw him win a first green jacket.

That was a record score for a champion in the tournament's history and came a year after former world number one Woods landed his 15th major title when he triumphed at the Masters for a fifth time.

The 2022 US PGA Championship will no longer be held at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.

The PGA of America announced on Sunday it had terminated its agreement to play the major at the course owned by United States president Donald Trump.

It comes just days after supporters of the president stormed the United States Capitol.

"The PGA of America Board of Directors voted tonight to exercise the right to terminate the agreement to play the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster," PGA of America president Jim Richerson said in a statement.

"It has become clear that conducting the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand and would put at risk the PGA's ability to deliver our many programs and sustain the longevity of our mission," Richerson added in a video.

The decision to hold the tournament at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster was made in 2014.

Lee Westwood is determined to represent Team Europe at next year's rescheduled Ryder Cup after being crowned Race to Dubai winner.

The Englishman finished runner-up to compatriot Matthew Fitzpatrick in the DP World Tour Championship, which was enough to see him crowned Europe's season-ending number one for the third time in his career.

It has been 20 years since Westwood first won the European Tour's Order of Merit, now known as the Race to Dubai, and at 47 years, seven months and 20 days he is the oldest player to do so.

Westwood was in one of the qualifying spots for Team Europe prior to the suspension of the qualification process until 2021. That decision was taken due to the Ryder Cup, which will be held at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, being postponed by 12 months to next September due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Westwood played in an impressive 10 straight Ryder Cups from 1997 to 2016, featuring on the winning team in seven of those, and was a vice-captain when Europe regained the trophy at Le Golf National two years ago.

While he accepts different roles, including the captaincy, are set to become the norm in the twilight of his career, Westwood still wants to be involved in a playing capacity under Padraig Harrington in 2021.

"I would love to play again. At some point, I hope the captaincy is going to be offered to me – and I would love to do that," Westwood told Sky Sports News.

"I played in 10 Ryder Cups under 10 different captains, at certain times you've got to move into new chapters of your life.

"If I did qualify, I would give it my all and be ready for it."

Westwood will be 48 by the time of the next Ryder Cup, still short of the 51 years and 20 days Raymond Floyd was when he became the oldest player in Ryder Cup history for the United States in 1993.

"It's not getting any easier," Westwood added. "I'm not getting any younger. I'm just enjoying playing golf and enjoying playing in this big tournaments against these great young players. These kids are so good now.

"The European Tour is in great shape."

Matt Fitzpatrick and Lee Westwood were both able to celebrate at the DP World Tour Championship as the Race to Dubai came to a dramatic conclusion on Sunday.

Having sat tied for the lead with Laurie Canter and Patrick Reed ahead of the final round, Fitzpatrick produced a stunning start to storm clear at the summit.

The Englishman birdied five of his opening seven holes at Jumeirah Golf Estates, reaching the turn in 31 shots to leave him a comfortable cushion to defend on the back nine.

A succession of pars kept him clear as the chasing pack closed in. While there was a blemish with a bogey at 17, Fitzpatrick finished one clear on 15 under par to claim his sixth tournament win.

Westwood ended up alone in second place after birdies at 16 and 18 saw him sign for a score of 68, enough to see him finish on top of the European Tour's end-of-season rankings.

It is a third Order of Merit crown for the ever-consistent Englishman, who becomes the oldest champion at the age of 47 years, seven months and 20 days. His first came 20 years ago, while he also reigned again in 2009.

His latest success was even more impressive considering Westwood was not certain to take part in the event, having arrived in Dubai with a back injury. 

"On Monday I didn't even know if I was going to play, so I'd like to thank the physio unit for torturing me every day, stretching me into places I didn't think I could get into to get me ready to tee off on Thursday morning," Westwood told Sky Sports.

Reed had held top spot in the Race to Dubai standings but was unable to become the first American to take home the title, despite a stunning second round of 64 boosting his hopes.

The world number 11 was unable to find the same form over the weekend, however, as successive scores of 71 and 70 left him in a tie for third place, alongside Norwegian Viktor Hovland, on 13 under.

Sami Valimaki and Canter finished a further shot adrift, the latter enduring an up-and-down day that saw him mix in six birdies with three bogeys and a double at the 17th hole.

Patrick Reed is attempting to "stay in the present" after battling to remain in a share of the lead at the DP World Tour Championship and continue his bid for history.

The 2018 Masters champion is aiming to become the first American to win the lucrative Race to Dubai on the European Tour.

Entering round three with a two-shot lead after a glorious 64 on Friday, Reed carded a more modest one-under 71 to share top spot with Matthew Fitzpatrick and Laurie Canter.

Reed needed a birdie at the last to do so having earlier recovered from patchy play to hole out of the bunker at the 15th.

The possibility to enter the record books is not lost on Reed, who is refusing to get ahead of himself on what promises to be a thrilling Sunday with 14 players within five shots of the lead.

"I'm trying not to really think about that, honestly," Reed said. 

"If it happens, it would be unbelievable. It was always a goal of mine obviously to win golf tournaments but to win this one and also to win the Race to Dubai and be the first American would be amazing.

"We still have a full 18 holes left and you can't really sit back there and think as much about that as just stay in the present and try to play some good golf tomorrow."

Fitzpatrick and Canter shot scores of 69 and 68 respectively to join Reed atop the leaderboard, while their English compatriot Lee Westwood is among four players just one stroke back.

Veteran Westwood will be Race to Dubai champion if he wins at Jumeirah Golf Estates. The 47-year-old won this tournament in 2009 and has finished as European number one twice previously.

Patrick Reed is on course to win the DP World Tour Championship and the Race to Dubai after a sublime second round gave him a two-shot lead.

Reed started the season-ending tournament in Dubai in pole position to become the first American to be crowned European number one.

Victor Perez led after the opening round to take the initiative in the Race to Dubai battle, but Reed took charge at Jumeirah Golf Estates on Friday with a stunning eight-under 64 to lead by two shots at the halfway mark.

Reed made five birdies on the front nine to go out in 31 and the only blemish in what was the lowest round of the week came when he bogeyed the 12th.

The world number 11 put that setback behind him by making three gains in the last four holes to reach 10 under and a two-shot advantage over Matt Fitzpatrick.

"Anytime you shoot eight under par you're always happy," said Reed, who avoided a second dropped shot of the tournament with a great up and down at 13 following a poor tee shot.

"I feel like today I got off to a little better start than I did yesterday and the putter was working a little bit. 

"There's a lot of golf left. I feel like the biggest thing is yesterday just seemed like I kept burning edges, and a couple iron shots and scoring clubs that I didn't hit as close as I needed to and wanted to. 

"I was able to warm up a little bit last night on the range after the round and tighten things up, and today I gave myself a lot of chances. I hit it close on a lot of holes and therefore I saw lines a little better and I was able to free up the putter and make some putts."

There were seven birdies for Fitzpatrick in his second successive four-under 68, while fellow Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton (68) and Laurie Canter (66) trail Reed by three shots.

Perez dropped back to three under with a 74, having dropped four shots in as many holes just after the turn.

Victor Perez claimed the early lead in the DP World Tour Championship thanks to an opening round of 67 in Dubai.

Perez reached the turn on one under but managed four birdies on the back nine of the Jumeirah Golf Estates' Earth Course, leaving him one clear on five under par.

The 28-year-old's impressive start puts him on course not only for success this week but also to become the first French player to end the year as Europe's number one.

However, other leading contenders for the latter honour were not too far behind on the leaderboard.

Tommy Fleetwood - Race to Dubai champion in 2017 - sat in a well-placed position at three under, while Patrick Reed, who went into the tournament top of the rankings, was a further shot back.

However, Perez's closest rivals on the leaderboard were Matt Fitzpatrick, Robert MacIntyre and Erik van Rooyen, the trio all sitting on four under.

"In the position I'm in, I have nothing to lose. I have everything to gain," the first-round leader said, after putting himself on course for a double celebration. 

"So, for me, it's really a going-for-it mentality that I have to keep for four rounds."

He told the European Tour's website: "Obviously you still have to play proper golf and hit the right shots and sometimes take your medicine, but again, I have really nothing to lose, and it's a matter of making a lot of birdies."

Fleetwood birdied the final hole to sign for a score of 69, leaving him alongside fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton, two-time major winner Martin Kaymer and Sami Valimaki of Finland.

Reed, meanwhile, opened with a blemish-free card as he aims to make history - no American has ever finished on top of the end-of-year Race to Dubai rankings 

Birdies at the seventh and the 18th saw the world number 11 become part of a nine-man group on two under, where he had company that included Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood.

Antoine Rozner landed his first European Tour title as a closing 64 gave the Frenchman victory in the Golf in Dubai Championship.

Ahead of taking part in next week's highly lucrative World Tour Championship, also in Dubai, Rozner finished two clear of the field after toppling overnight leader Andy Sullivan.

As Englishman Sullivan wobbled, closing with a two-under 70, Rozner took full advantage as he picked up five shots from the ninth to the 13th, with three birdies and an eagle.

The Parisian completed an eight-under round with another birdie at 18, reaching 25 under par for the week, with Sullivan sharing second place with fellow Englishman Matt Wallace, France's Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Italian Francesco Laporta.

Rozner's success came in just his 24th European Tour event, the fewest any French golfer has played before winning for the first time.

Scotland's Grant Forrest jumped 15 places to finish sixth thanks to a closing 63, the lowest score of the day.

Rozner had begun the day four shots adrift of Sullivan, and the turnaround saw the champion collect prize money of €160,342, the biggest pay day of his fledgling career on the tour.

"It means a lot," Rozner said on the European Tour website.

"It's such a strange year, we have been through so much all over the world and to be able to get it done today in such nice fashion, eight under. It's amazing.

"I'm going to be very honest with you, the first time I saw I was in the lead was on the 18th green so I didn't really look at the leaderboards.

"I knew the game was there. I didn't know it was that good."

Now he can target more Dubai success next week, saying of that prospect: "It's a good way to finish the season and the biggest tournament of the year of course. I didn't play any Rolex events this year so to be able to play such a big tournament is going to be a big thing for me so I'm excited."

Christiaan Bezuidenhout claimed his second European Tour title on Sunday as the home favourite triumphed at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Heading into the final round three strokes off the pace, the 26-year-old recovered from a double bogey on the seventh to card a blemish-free back nine and finish four shots clear of the field.

Three birdies after the turn helped the South African to 69 for the day and 14 under for the tournament, with England's Richard Bland in a tie for second with Sean Crocker, Adrian Meronk and Jayden Schaper on 10 under par.

Bezuidenhout, who has battled to the sport's elite level despite nearly dying as a child after drinking rat poison, last claimed a European Tour title at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters in June 2019.

"It's incredible," said Bezuidenhout, who finished in a tie for 38th at the Masters this month. "This tournament has been close to my heart since I played it for the first time. It's always been a tournament I wanted to win and to pull it off today is really, really special to me.

"I'm proud of myself to stick in there and to have pulled it off round here.

"I played with Louis [Oosthuizen] and Charl [Schwartzel] in a practice round at Augusta and they said you can't play this course the way you played it with the previous grass on it. I never thought of it that way and I just came here with a different frame of mind and I played it like it's playing now: firm and fast."

Bland, who shot 70 on Sunday, was the only other top-five finisher to card a final round under par.

Scotland's Robert MacIntyre produced the strongest performance on the day, with six birdies in a round of 67 propelling him up the leaderboard to a share of sixth.

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