Nicolai Hojgaard produced a brilliant final round of 64 to claim his first Rolex Series title in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

The 22-year-old Dane recorded nine birdies and a solitary bogey to finish two shots clear of Ryder Cup team-mates Viktor Hovland and Tommy Fleetwood, and overnight leader Matt Wallace.

Hojgaard’s chances suffered a major blow when he dropped a shot on the 12th to briefly fall three behind Fleetwood, but he responded superbly with a run of five straight birdies before surprisingly missing from inside four feet for another on the 18th.

That left Hojgaard on 21 under par, but none of his rivals were able to find an eagle on the last to force a play-off, Fleetwood having crucially three-putted the 17th.

“It means a lot, it’s the sweetest one,” Hojgaard told Sky Sports after claiming the third DP World Tour title of his career.

“So much hard work has been put in over the past couple years – it feels amazing, this is for family and everything they put in over the years. So much hard work going into this, for it to happen like this is unbelievable.

“We know there are a lot of birdies but we have to hit the shots and hole the putts, anything can happen we were just focused on the job today, to walk up 18 knowing there’s a good chance feels good.

“I played some really good golf. I have to say this is the best golf I’ve played in a tournament and the strongest field in my three wins. My game feels good, I felt good before going out and to finish it like this feels good.

“This is the sweetest way to finish the year, I can’t believe we finished on such a high note, I’m definitely going to enjoy this.”

Hojgaard’s joy was tempered by the news that his twin brother Rasmus had narrowly missed out on one of the 10 PGA Tour cards for 2024 on offer to the highest finishers in the Race to Dubai, who were not otherwise exempt.

Rasmus finished 11th on the list, less than 27 points behind Japan’s Ryo Hisatsune, who joined Adrian Meronk, Ryan Fox, Victor Perez, Thorbjorn Olesen, Alexander Bjork, Sami Valimaki, Robert MacIntyre, Matthieu Pavon and Jorge Campillo in earning playing privileges on the US circuit.

“I really wanted him to get that card. He was in a great position,” Nicolai said.

“It came down to a crazy scenario, I think, in the end. I feel sorry for Ras, but he’s going to bounce back. He always does. He’s one of the best golfers I know and he’s going to come back stronger afterwards.”

Defending champion Jon Rahm carded a closing 66 to finish in a tie for fifth on 17 under, with Race to Dubai winner Rory McIlroy another seven strokes back after a 70.

McIlroy had been assured of a fifth money list title before arriving in Dubai and now has his sights set on the six of Seve Ballesteros and Colin Montgomeier’s record tally of eight.

“It’s great,” McIlroy said. “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.

“It’s just about trying to be a little more clinical when I get to those weeks where I have chances to win. I’ve still got a little bit left in the tank. I think I’ve still got a good eight to 10 years left in me where I can play at the top, top level.

“I’d like to think that I’m going to challenge, at least try to get past Seve and then try to get past Monty as well. But it’s certainly a goal of minute for the rest of my career to do something like that. It would mean a lot to me.”

Sergio Garcia is the only one of 17 players sanctioned by the DP World Tour for joining LIV Golf not to have paid his fine, the tour has announced.

The 43-year-old was one of a clutch of players that includes Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter to have been hit with a fine over joining the breakaway Saudi-backed tour.

A statement said: “The DP World Tour today confirmed that 16 out of 17 players have paid their fines which were imposed for serious breaches of the Tour’s Conflicting Tournament Regulation last June.

“The players were each fined £100,000 – a sanction originally imposed in July 2022 and upheld last month by an independent panel appointed by Sport Resolutions.

“Sergio Garcia has not paid his £100,000 fine, nor has he given any indication that he intends to.

“We will therefore take appropriate action if he continues not to respect the Sport Resolutions panel’s decision.”

Garcia, along with Poulter and Westwood, on Wednesday announced his resignation from the World Tour.

Rory McIlroy said it is a shame that the trio will now not get the chance to one day captain Europe’s Ryder Cup team following their decision to quit.

Their departure renders them ineligible for inclusion when the match against the United States begins in Rome in September.

On Thursday, Westwood spoke out against the DP World Tour following the controversy, seemingly closing the door on any hope of a return in the future.

And McIlroy said: “I think it’s a shame that you’ve got the highest points score ever in the Ryder Cup and two guys that when they look back on their career, that’s probably going to be at least a big chunk of their legacy is the roles that they have played in the Ryder Cup for Europe.

“For those three guys to not captain Europe one day, it’s a shame. But as the DP World Tour said in their statement, at the end of the day that was their choice and they knew that these were potentially going to be the consequences of those choices and of those actions and here we are.

“Yeah, it’s certainly a shame.”

Europe’s captain, Luke Donald, echoed McIlroy’s sentiments and said he is sad that the three will not be available to represent the side.

Donald, who will lead the Europe team as they seek to win the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2018, felt sorry that the situation had come to this.

“It’s sad we’ve got to this point but this was always a possibility,” Donald told BBC Sport. “I played with all three and they’ve been stalwarts of, and given a lot to, both the Ryder Cup and European Tour.

“I have a little more clarity now. I know they’re not an option to play in, or be any part of my team. It is a shame. They’ve got a lot of history when it comes to the Ryder Cup.

“Ultimately this is their choice and I wish them well. They feel like this was the best choice for them and now I’ve got choices to make that are best for me.

“There are generational shifts throughout the history of the Ryder Cup and maybe this is one.

“We certainly have plenty of great players to look at and pick from and I’m certainly excited about how everyone has played this year so far.”

Donald was made captain in 2022 after Henrik Stenson was dismissed for joining in the Saudi-backed LIV tour.

He will be without three of Europe’s most successful performers in the contest, with Westwood having featured as a player a record 11 times and Poulter unbeaten in singles across his seven appearances. Garcia is Europe’s all-time record points scorer.

Donald added: “There’s great momentum with European golf. We’ve already had seven winners in the US [this season] and a bunch of people who haven’t played in the Ryder Cup have played great this year on the DP World Tour, so I’m excited about the make-up of this team.”

Lee Westwood has accused the DP World Tour of being “fully in bed” with the PGA Tour after announcing his resignation from the European circuit.

Westwood and fellow Ryder Cup stars Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia have resigned their membership and are therefore no longer eligible for the biennial contest against the United States.

The trio were among the players fined £100,000 and suspended for two tournaments after playing the first LIV Golf event last year without permission.

Westwood and Poulter were also among the 12 members of the Saudi-funded breakaway who lost an appeal against the sanctions last month and were deemed to have committed “serious breaches” of the DP World Tour’s code of behaviour by a three-man arbitration panel.

Westwood confirmed he has paid the fine and is keen to “move on”, but reiterated his criticism of the way the PGA Tour and DP World Tour have reacted to the emergence of LIV Golf.

“I’ve been a dual member of the European Tour and PGA Tour, but always said I was a European Tour member first and foremost and that I had fears about the US circuit basically being bullies and doing everything it could to secure global dominance,” Westwood told The Telegraph.

“Check my old quotes, it’s all there.

“But now, in my opinion, the European Tour has jumped fully in bed with the PGA Tour and even though Keith (Pelley, the chief executive) says he hates to hear it, it is now a feeder tour for the PGA Tour.

“The top 10 players on the tour, not already exempt this year, have a pathway to the PGA Tour – that’s giving our talent away. That was never the tour’s policy before this ‘strategic alliance’.

“Sorry, I don’t want to play under that sort of regime.

“I mulled it over and just didn’t like the thought of the tour continuously hitting us with more fines and bans that would have been hanging over me.

“I’ve paid my fine out of respect for the arbitration panel and have then taken the decisions out of the tour’s hands. I honestly want to move on.”

Pablo Larrazabal battled his way to the top of a congested leaderboard on Sunday afternoon to claim his eighth DP World Tour title at the Korea Championship.

The Spaniard secured a two-shot victory over Dane Marcus Helligkilde after carding six birdies and a single bogey in a closing 67 to reach 12 under par.

Larrazabal went into the final round one shot off the lead having bogeyed the 17th when he returned to complete his weather-disrupted third round in the morning.

He then found himself in a five-way tie at the top on nine under at the turn following two front-nine birdies.

Larrazabal slipped from the summit after dropping his first shot of the round on the 10th hole but roared back, making four birdies in the next five holes to open up a three-shot lead.

He then safely parred his way home to clinch a first visit to the winner’s circle since the ISPS Handa Championship in Spain last April.

The 39-year-old said: “I love to compete, I love to fly out here, to see all these young guys hitting it miles and try to beat them.

“And that’s what makes me the happiest guy in the world.”

Scotland’s Scott Jamieson finished in a four-way tie for third on nine under alongside home favourite Park Sanghyun, Spain’s Jorge Campillo, Dutchman Joost Luiten, with fellow Scot Robert MacIntyre another shot further back.

Lucas Herbert was "shaking" prior to sinking the winning putt on the second playoff hole against Aaron Cockerill to win the ISPS Handa Championship in Japan.

The Australian was tied with his Canadian rival at 15 under par for the tournament after the regulation holes, Herbert having missed a 20-footer for birdie at the last.

Herbert, who had travel issues and arrived late into Japan, missed his birdie attempt at the first extra hole, where Cockerill agonisingly lipped out.

He then found the trees off the tee but recovered brilliantly to make birdie and take home a third DP World Tour title.

"It's pretty special. I got pretty lucky over there on the right to get a good lie after we dropped it," Herbert said.

"Nick [caddie Nick Pugh] gave me the number and it was basically perfect. It was exactly what you'd want off that lie.

"So it was good to hit a good shot in there. And then my hand was shaking all over the place just to get the putt started on line, and to have it fall in was pretty cool."

Calum Hill was third at 14 under, one clear of fellow Scotsman Grant Forrest and home favourite Hiroshi Iwata

Matthew Baldwin secured his maiden DP World Tour title after cruising to a seven-shot victory at the SDC Championship in South Africa.

Appearing in his 200th event on the circuit, Baldwin finally landed his first trophy after finishing on 18 under par at St. Francis Links, seven clear of Spaniard Adri Arnaus.

After a brilliant end to his third round, in which he made three birdies in the last four holes, the Englishman entered the final round with a four-shot advantage at the top of the leaderboard.

He subsequently moved six clear after a further three birdies, including back-to-back gains on the seventh and eighth holes, playing a series of excellent recovery shots to keep him clear of the chasing pack.

After bogeying the 11th, the 37-year-old had successive birdies again on the 13th and 14th – producing a neat 20-foot putt on the latter – before parring his way home for a 68 to ease to victory.

"I'm not 100 per cent sure what's just happened," Baldwin said. "It's been a tough few years, so obviously to get the win means absolutely everything. I can't process it right now, but it just means the world to me.

"It's been windy all week, it's that sort of golf course. Fortunately for me, I've grown up playing in Southport at Hesketh and Royal Birkdale, so I'm pretty good in the wind, and it's worked out a treat for me."

Second-placed Arnaus finished on 11 under after seven birdies and two bogeys in his closing 67, with Jaco Ahlers, Jens Dantorp, Ewen Ferguson, Kristian Krogh Johannessen and Antoine Rozner all a shot behind in a tie for third.

Victor Perez held on to claim a one-stroke victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and then claimed the crazy finish was all in a day's work.

The Frenchman posted a final-round 66 to finish on 18 under and edge out Lee Min-woo and Sebastian Soderberg, but had a nervous wait to confirm his win after a bogey on the 18th hole.

Neither the Australian nor the Swede could reel him back in the end, handing Perez his third DP World Tour title and first since May last year at the Dutch Open.

Victory pushes him to the top of the Race to Dubai rankings, with the 30-year-old looking forward to a campaign that has him in the conversation for a Ryder Cup spot.

"It's a great year ahead," he said. "There's a lot of big things coming up. I've had a really good off-season, I've worked really hard, and it's just great.

"I'm just delighted to finish on top. It was a crazy finish, but I'm used to that by now. Hopefully I can make it a little easier for the next one."

Padraig Harrington came home fourth after closing with a 67 to finish 16 under, with the 51-year-old falling short of becoming the oldest winner in tour history.

While Perez took the accolades, the final day at Yas Links also delivered two hole-in-one finishes, with Dan Bradbury and Tyrrell Hatton holing out at the 17th and 13th respectively. 

Victor Perez held on to claim a one-stroke victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and then claimed the crazy finish was all in a day's work.

The Frenchman posted a final-round 66 to finish on 18 under and edge out Lee Min-woo and Sebastian Soderberg, but had a nervous wait to confirm his win after a bogey on the 18th hole.

Neither the Australian nor the Swede could reel him back in the end, handing Perez his third DP World Tour title and first since May last year at the Dutch Open.

Victory pushes him to the top of the Race to Dubai rankings, with the 30-year-old looking forward to a campaign that has him in the conversation for a Ryder Cup spot.

"It's a great year ahead," he said. "There's a lot of big things coming up. I've had a really good off-season, I've worked really hard, and it's just great.

"I'm just delighted to finish on top. It was a crazy finish, but I'm used to that by now. Hopefully I can make it a little easier for the next one."

Padraig Harrington came home fourth after closing with a 67 to finish 16 under, with the 51-year-old falling short of becoming the oldest winner in tour history.

While Perez took the accolades, the final day at Yas Links also delivered two hole-in-one finishes, with Dan Bradbury and Tyrrell Hatton holing out at the 17th and 13th respectively. 

Collin Morikawa, Jon Rahm and J.J. Spaun share the lead after carding nine-under-par rounds of 64 on the first day of the season-opening Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Thursday.

Two-time major winner Morikawa reeled off a career-best six straight birdies from the 10th to 15th holes, before ending his round with a birdie on the par-five 18th.

Fellow American Spaun was an early leader with five birdies on his front nine, enjoying a run of four consecutive birdies from the 12th to the 15th too.

Former world number one Jon Rahm, who was among the last to finish the day's play, bounced back from a bogey on the 14th hole, birdieing three of his final four holes to grab a share of the lead.

The trio are one stroke ahead of South Korean Tom Kim, who managed two eagles in his eight-under-par round of 65. Kim holed out spectacularly off one bounce on the sixth hole from 116 feet, while he repeated the feat on the 15th after a fine approach which was one of the best shots of the day.

Six players are next at seven under, including world number two Scottie Scheffler who finished his round with four birdies on the final five holes.

Scheffler is tied with Tom Hoge, Aaron Wise, Sungjae Im, Matt Fitzpatrick and Mackenzie Hughes.

Six players are a further shot back including Jordan Spieth, Viktor Hovland and Hideki Matsuyama.

Scott Stallings has revealed his invitation to this year's Masters Tournament was delivered to the wrong person in a case of mistaken identity.

The three-time PGA Tour winner had been expecting official confirmation of his inclusion for the year's first major at Augusta in April.

However, his package was instead sent to another man who shares his name, as well as having an identically named wife and residing in Georgia.

Taking to social media, Stallings posted a message he received from his namesake, who offered to forward the invite to its rightful recipient.

"Literally had been checking the mailbox five times a day and then I got this random [direct message] yesterday," Stallings tweeted.

The original recipient reached out on New Year's Day, writing: "My name is Scott Stallings as well and I'm from [Georgia]. My wife's name is Jennifer too.

"I received a FedEx today from the Masters inviting me to play in the Masters Tournament April 6-9, 2023. I'm [100 per cent] sure this is NOT for me. I play but wow! Nowhere near your level.

"It's a very nice package complete with everything needed to attend. I think we have some confusion because of our names, our wives' names and geographical location."

Stallings' previous best display at the Masters came when he claimed a share of 27th place in 2012, while his last PGA title came at the Farmers Insurance Open in 2014.

The major will be the first of the 2023 season, with players from both the PGA Tour and the breakaway LIV Golf circuit expected to feature at Augusta.

Rory McIlroy will sit out next month's Tournament of Champions despite its status as one of the PGA Tour's "elevated purse" events.

The world number one is absent from the confirmed field of players set to take to Kapalua's Plantation Course for the traditional season opener on January 5.

The Tournament of Champions is one of several events with an increased pot, in what is viewed as an effort to combat the lucrative pay-outs offered by LIV Golf.

McIlroy, a vocal critic of the breakaway last year, will not be on hand for the curtain-raiser, however, having opted to pass on the event.

PGA Tour members are allowed to skip one "elevated purse" event per season, with the Northern Irishman opting to bow out of the tournament in Hawaii this time around.

It means he has still made just the one visit to the event, having finished T4 in 2019.

Three of last year's major winners will compete however, with Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas and Matt Fitzpatrick all included in the field.

11 first-time winners are included from 2022, while eight of the world top 10 and four FedExCup champions also make the cut, though Open Championship winner Cameron Smith is absent after his LIV Golf defection.

McIlroy is also expected to skip the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January, where he started his campaign this year.

The four-time major winner is set to start his campaign on the DP World Tour instead, with the Dubai Desert Classic, where he is a two-time previous winner.

Antoine Rozner put his previous Mauritius Open ghosts to bed as he romped to a five-stroke win at Mont Choisy Le Golf in convincing fashion at 18-under.

The Frenchman lost out to Rasmus Hojgaard in a three-way play-off at the last edition of the tournament in 2019, but went one better in Grand Baie this year to pick up his third DP World Tour title.

Collecting his first silverware since last year's Qatar Masters, Rozner posted an impressive five-under on the final day to stay ahead of nearest rival Alfredo Garcia-Heredia.

Rozner's compatriot Julien Brun could only post a par round, to finish third with 12-under, while Simon Forsstrom, Ko Jeong-Weon and Dylan Mostert tied for fourth a shot behind him. 

The 29-year-old posted four birdies, an eagle and a bogey - the latter on the 17th - across his round of 67, matched by Garcia-Heredia, though Alejandro Canizares posted the best card of the day at seven-under.

Rory McIlroy thinks he may have given Tiger Woods COVID-19 on the eve of the Open Championship after the pair played at a charity event beforehand.

The Northern Irishman, who claimed a third FedEx Cup this year, has forged a close bond over the years with the American, one strengthened by their shared views on the LIV Golf breakaway this season.

While several of their rivals warmed up at the Scottish Open for this year's Open, McIlroy and Woods played at a fundraising event hosted by JP McManus at Adare Manor.

Now, four-time major winner McIlroy has revealed he played at St Andrews while battling COVID-19 – and that he fears he gave it to Woods after the two dined together.

"I woke up feeling a bit achy but didn't really think anything of it," he told the Irish Independent. "[But] as I'm getting up from the table, I'm sore and stiff and super tired.

"I slept for maybe two hours, and the sweat was just pouring off me. Erica [McIlory's wife] took my temperature, and it was sky-high.

"[Tiger] texted me that night with chills and fever. I'm like 'f****** hell, I've just given Tiger COVID. This is horrendous!'. So we both had COVID going into the Open.

"The whole week of the Open, I didn't have any taste, and everything [was] like vinegar to me. Everything. It was really strange."

Woods went on to miss the cut at the Open, while McIlroy was edged out by Cameron Smith on the final day at St Andrews.

McIlroy did end the season on a high, topping the DP World Tour rankings and returning to number one in the world.

Rory McIlroy declared he is "as complete a golfer as I've ever been" after finishing top of the season-ending DP World Tour rankings for the fourth time.

Jon Rahm secured his third DP World Tour Championship on Sunday, but a fourth-placed finish for McIlory gave the 33-year-old reason to celebrate at Dubai's Jumeirah Golf Estates.

McIlroy added the Harry Vardon Trophy, awarded to the DP World Tour's number one, to his FedExCup victory in 2022.

The Northern Irishman has enjoyed an impressive season, recording top-10 finishes at all four majors, while he did not drop below 12th place at any of his 10 DP World Tour events this term.

That consistency led McIlroy to suggest his golf is in the best place it has been in recent memory.

"I think one of the things I'm really proud of over the last few years is I don't feel I have to rely on one aspect of my game," McIlroy, a four-time major winner, told Sky Sports. "I think if my driving isn't there, then my putter bails me out.

"If my putter isn't there, my iron play bails me out. I feel like when you get to this level it's like, okay, how can you make those incremental improvements to get better?

"I think my goal has been to just become a more complete golfer and I feel like I'm on the journey to doing that.

"I'm as complete a golfer as I feel like I've ever been, and hopefully I can continue on that path."

Meanwhile, McIlroy's Ryder Cup team-mate Rahm reflected on a positive year of his own after collecting his third triumph of the season after winning at the Open de Espana and the Mexico Open.

"Hopefully people can stop telling me that it was a bad year," Rahm said.

"Three wins worldwide and three wins in three different continents. Yes, it wasn't a major championship but it's still a really, really good season."

An excellent final round of 67 saw Jon Rahm seal the third DP World Tour Championship of his career on Sunday.

The Spaniard finished on 20 under par, winning by two shots ahead of Tyrell Hatton and Alex Noren in Dubai and four ahead of Rory McIlroy, who had something to celebrate of his own with his fourth-place finish.

As a result, McIlroy ends the year as DP World Tour number one for a fourth time, winning the Harry Vardon Trophy.

Rahm looked to be in the mood to secure victory after recording birdies on each of the first three holes, only to bogey the fourth, leaving Noren breathing down his neck as the Swede also started brightly to go within one of the lead.

Things turned on the seventh hole though as Noren dropped a shot, before Rahm gained one to extend his advantage to three.

Hatton went on to set the clubhouse lead at 18 under, but Rahm did not drop another shot as he tidied up his round with further birdies at the 13th and 15th before confirming his win with a simple par on the 18th.

After his victory, Rahm said it was a "very" special one, adding: "Because of coronavirus I never got the chance to defend my 2019 title, even though I decided not to come last year I came in with the mentality [this year] that nobody beat me in the last two years, so they're gonna have to beat me again.

"I like this course and this course likes me, so I hope this is the third of many more."

McIlroy was equally pleased with his own award, with the world number one becoming just the second player in history to win the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup and the DP World Tour order of merit in the same season.

After his final round of 68, McIlroy said: "It means a lot, it's been seven years since I've last done it [finished top of European Tour rankings] and obviously this is my fourth one.

"I was a model of consistency through the year, a lot of top finishes, I think my worst finish was 12th in Abu Dhabi, so just a really consistent season, kept putting in good performances; it would have been nice to get one win in there at the end of the year here but Jon played an incredible tournament and fully deserved it."

Elsewhere, English pair Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Fitzpatrick finished joint-fifth on 13 under, while Dane Rasmus Hoejgaard shot 67 to move up to joint-seventh with Pole Adrian Meronk on 11 under.

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