Nicolai Hojgaard, the 22-year-old Danish golfer who made his Ryder Cup debut last month, saved his best for last. Here the 2023 DP World Tour Championship Recap
Hojgaard birdied the final five holes of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai to pass Tommy Fleetwood on the leaderboard. He was in the clubhouse while Fleetwood, playing in the final group, finished his round. The British star bogeyed the 17th hole, so he had to eagle the par-5 18th.
His third shot sailed past the hole, giving Hojgaard the win. His first win of 2023 was the biggest win of his career, earning a $3 million payday against an elite field that included three of the world’s four top-ranked golfers: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, and Viktor Hovland.
“The only thing missing was a win, and to get it this week is unbelievable,” said Hojgaard, who also moved up to second in the DP World Tour standings behind series champ McIlroy. “This is the sweetest way to finish the year.”
Coupled with last week’s runner-up finish at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, Hojgaard moved into 50th in the Official World Golf Ranking. If he can hold that position by the end of 2023, he will qualify for all four majors next year.
“I can’t believe we finished on such a high note, and we’re definitely going to enjoy this,” Hojgaard said.
It was another close call for Fleetwood in a year full of them. He missed out on a PGA Tour win in Canada in a playoff, and he had several other top-five finishes on both tours in what was arguably his best season despite not having a win. Matt Wallace and Hovland, the 2023 FedEx Cup champion on the PGA Tour, tied for runner-up here with Fleetwood–two shots behind Hojgaard.
Tying for fifth were Rahm, Thriston Lawrence, and Matthieu Pavon.
It was a difficult day for Hojgaard’s twin brother, Rasmus. He was looking to finish inside the top 10 of the DP World Tour standings to earn a PGA Tour card for 2024, but his second shot on the 18th hole found water. He was able to par the hole, but Pavon’s birdie dropped Rasmus Hojgaard just outside the top 10.
The PGA Tour will give cards to 10 golfers who weren’t already eligible, like McIlroy and Nicolai Hojgaard. The 10 who earned cards are Adrian Meronk, Ryan Fox, Victor Perez, Thorbjorn Olesen, Alexander Bjork, Sami Valimaki, Robert MacIntyre, Pavon, Jorge Campillo, and Ryo Hisatsune.
There’s no offseason in golf. The 2024 DP World Tour season gets underway next week with two events: the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship and the Joburg Open in South Africa. Dan Bradbury is the defending champion of the latter, while Cameron Smith won in his home country of Australia last year. That event is a joint tournament with the Australian PGA Tour, so Smith–a member of the LIV Golf series–is eligible to compete.
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