‘It’s the sweetest one’ – Nicolai Hojgaard hails DP World Tour Championship win

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.

Nicolai Hojgaard
Nicolai Hojgaard of Denmark plays his second shot on the second hole during the final round of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai (Kamran Jebreili/AP)

“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.”