Cape Town – Francesco Molinari is hoping to round off a “dream season” by clinching the 2018 Race to Dubai crown at this week’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, the eighth and final Rolex Series event of the season.
Molinari enters the final week of the campaign 1 025 166 points clear of the 2017 Race to Dubai Champion Tommy Fleetwood, following a stellar year during which he became the first Italian Major champion in history by claiming the Open Championship at Carnoustie.
“It feels incredible to be here as Race to Dubai leader – it’s a new position for me. I’ve never been here in the past,” said Molinari.
“I think obviously it’s just a consequence and a sign of an incredible season. I would have never guessed that I would be here in this position if you told me in April or May this year, but it’s been an incredible summer, topped by an unbelievable Ryder Cup.
“Really, it’s a dream season for me, and it’s nice to be here in this position. Hopefully I’ll be able to close it out. I know it’s not going to be easy, and I’m not making any assumptions, but I’ll do my best on the course to do the job,” he said.
He soon followed that with a remarkable performance at the Ryder Cup in September – sealing five points out of five and becoming a household name in process – and now the 36-year-old is targeting more history as he aims to become the first Italian player to be crowned European Tour No 1.
“I think this is obviously even more special, being the last event of the season. All the best players in the Race to Dubai are here, and it’s an incredibly competitive field. So it’s going to be tough. It’s never going to be easy when you have these kind of players here, and hopefully I can play good enough golf to have a chance on Sunday,” said Molinari.
Jon Rahm, meanwhile, returns to Jumeirah Golf Estates having claimed the season-ending title in swashbuckling fashion last year and were he to be successful in his title defence, he would become the first three-time Rolex Series winner.
“It feels good to be back. It will be hard to improve on what I did last year, but it feels great. I was able to be defending champion for three events this year,” said Rahm.