Hansen wins Aviv Dubai Championship to secure place at European Tour season-finale

DP World Tour Championship will be played without world No 1 Jon Rahm, who announced his withdrawal on Sunday

Joachim B Hansen completed a near-flawless tournament to win the Aviv Dubai Championship on Sunday, pipping Bernd Wiesberger and Francesco Laporta to the title and booking his place at this week's season-finale at the DP World Tour Championship.

The Dane, who shared the overnight lead with Laporta, carded a final round 68 to secure his second European Tour title with a 23-under par 265, one shot ahead of the Italian and Austria's Wiesberger on the Fire Course. Laporta had the chance to force a play-off but saw his long-range birdie putt on 18 slip narrowly past the hole.

The result moved Hansen up 42 places in the Race to Dubai rankings to 43rd, securing his spot in the DP World Tour Championship. Only the top 50 available players are eligible to play in the European Tour's final event of the season, which will be played on the adjacent Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

“It means a lot, especially with family and friends here this time. The first two rounds were some of the best of my life,” Hansen, 31, said.

“I didn’t expect it at all. I just wanted to have a nice week with the family at a good tournament and the lovely weather down here.

“It turned out with a good nine-holes to start with, I stayed in contention all week and it’s nice to come out on top … I was emotional because my family is here and I wanted to win with them by my side, that’s special.”

On qualifying for the Race to Dubai finale, Hansen added: “It’s very nice going into next week. I played very nice in the last tournaments and have been close to playing really good, which I did this week. So, I’m just going to take next week as a bonus week and try to enjoy it.”

There were late charges by Wiesberger, who made a late charge to finish with eight birdies in his last 14 holes, and Andy Sullivan, who finished with five birdies and an eagle on the final hole to shoot 29 on the back-nine.

The Englishman’s remarkable finish means he claims one of the final spots on the Race to Dubai rankings to qualify for next week’s season-ending event.

The European Tour now reaches its season climax at the $9 million DP World Tour Championship on the adjacent at the Earth Course.

Rahm withdraws from season-finale

The 13th edition of the tournament starts on Thursday, but it will be played without world No 1 Jon Rahm, who earlier on Sunday confirmed his withdrawal.

Rahm, who won the Race to Dubai in 2019, is third in the standings behind Open champion Collin Morikawa and Billy Horschel but will not contest the European Tour’s season-ending event.

“After lengthy discussions with my team, I have come to the difficult decision not to travel to Dubai next week,” Rahm, 27, said in a statement. “The demands of a long season with many ups and downs has taken a lot out of me. I feel I need to take time to recharge my batteries while spending quality time with my family.

“I would like to take this opportunity to wish DP World and the European Tour all the best for the season-ending event, which is always such a special tournament.”

Rahm won his maiden major title in the US Open in June, 15 days after being forced to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament when holding a six-shot lead after 54 holes due to testing positive for Covid-19.

The Spaniard also missed the Tokyo Olympics after returning another positive test shortly before he was due to fly to Japan, while he was Europe’s top performer with three and a half points from five matches in the record Ryder Cup defeat at Whistling Straits.

Updated: November 14th 2021, 3:00 PM
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