Teenager Rasmus Hojgaard displayed extraordinary nerve to win the Mauritius Open and claim a maiden European Tour title in only his fifth start.

The 18-year-old Dane birdied the final hole in regulation play to complete a 68 and earn a spot in a three-way play-off at 19 under with fellow rookie Antoine Rozner (69) and Renato Paratore (67).

Hojgaard then turned on the style when playing the 18th a further three times, twice recording birdies to match Rozner - as Paratore was eliminated - and then sealing victory with a wonderful eagle. Only Matteo Manassero and Danny Lee have triumphed on the European Tour at a younger age.

A stunning approach to around 10 feet set up Hojgaard's winning putt and the youngster, whose identical twin Nicolai finished second to Sergio Garcia at the KLM Open in September, was soon doused in champagne as he celebrated a momentous success.

"I can't put it into words right now. This is a dream come true," a soaked but smiling Hojgaard told Sky Sports. "I don't know what to say - it's amazing."

A par at the first play-off hole ended Paratore's hopes, but Rozner did nothing wrong and was on course for a third successive birdie in the play-off when Hojgaard drained his eagle putt.

Louis de Jager produced the best round of the day, a 64 featuring six front-nine birdies and an eagle at the 14th, to finish one shot behind the leading trio.

He was joined at 18 under by Benjamin Hebert (66), Grant Forrest (66) and Thomas Detry, whose wait for a first European Tour win goes on after he could only manage a 70 having begun the day in a share of the lead with Rozner and Calum Hill.

It was a miserable Sunday for Hill. The Scot triple-bogeyed the first and went around in 74 to finish tied-17th at 14 under.

There is a three-way tie at the top of the Mauritius Open leaderboard going into the final round after Saturday surges from Antoine Rozner and Thomas Detry.

Calum Hill had held a one-shot lead after 36 holes, but saw that advantage evaporate at Heritage Golf Club.

Rozner, who had been two off the pace, carded a six-under-par 66 that included an eagle at the fifth and moved him level with Hill, who went round in 68.

Only a birdie-birdie finish – the second a monster putt – kept Hill in a share of the lead at the end of a round in which he struggled to match the scoring he produced in his 64 on Friday.

"It was nice to have a couple of birdies to finish off and sneak back into a tie for the lead," Hill said in quotes reported the European Tour. "Happy with how it finished off. It was similar to my morning round [on Friday], wasn't much wind then either. The scoring was good out there if you played well."

Detry sunk seven birdies as he struck a five-under 67 to move to 16 under, with each of the trio eyeing their first win on the European Tour.

Rasmus Hojgaard and Sihwan Kim are a shot off the pace, with Renato Paratore and Brandon Stone a stroke further back.

Calum Hill produced an impressive round of 64 to move into a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Mauritius Open.

Starting on the back nine, the Scotsman registered seven birdies through 12 holes to push himself firmly in contention for a first tournament win on the European Tour in just his sixth start.

His rapid rise up the leaderboard hit a snag with a bogey at the sixth, though he gained that shot back at the next before finishing with another birdie at his last hole to reach 12 under par.

"The last couple of days the game has been nice. I managed to get the putter going well today, which added up to a good score," Hill told the European Tour's website.

Brandon Stone had finished the opening round in a five-way tie for top spot and remains in the running, the South African signing for a 67 to sit in a three-man group on 11 under.

He shares second place with Belgian Thomas Detry and France's Matthieu Pavon, the former aided by an eagle at the par-five 14th for a second successive day.

American Sihwan Kim and Scotland's Connor Syme sat a shot further back on 10 under, along with French duo Antoine Rozner and Benjamin Hebert.

Five players carded rounds of 66 to share the Mauritius Open lead after Thursday's play.

Rasmus Hojgaard, Benjamin Hebert, Romain Langasque, Brandon Stone and Grant Forrest all finished six under.

A further nine players fared only one shot worse to leave the leaderboard tightly congested heading into round two.

Of the leading quintet, rookie Hojgaard was the only man to go blemish-free, with his impressive card also featuring an eagle at the seventh.

He and French duo Herbert and Langasque have never won on the European Tour, and the same applies to Forrest.

The Scot made gains at each of the par-fives, including a three at the 14th, and acknowledged how important those holes will be this week.

"The par-fives are key, they are all reachable," he told the European Tour website.

"You get the tee shots away there and there are really good chances, so you need to make the most of them."

Tiger Woods believes golf can help to "heal" the issues that have led to criticism of Phil Mickelson's decision to play the Saudi International in 2020.

The introduction of the tournament to the European Tour calendar in 2019 was controversial due to Saudi Arabia's human rights record.

Dustin Johnson won the inaugural event, held from January 31 to February 3 this year, and will again play for the $3.5million purse next year.

World number one Brooks Koepka will also feature in the field and Mickelson's decision to skip the Waste Management Phoenix Open to join them has proved unpopular in some quarters.

Responding to critics on Twitter, Mickelson wrote: "After turning down opportunities to go to the Middle East for many years, I'm excited to go play and see a place in the world I've never been. I understand those who are upset or disappointed. You'll be ok. I'm excited to experience this for the first time."

Masters champion Woods will not be making the trip and, speaking ahead of the Hero World Challenge, he said: "I just didn't want to go over there - it is a long way to go.

"I understand the politics behind it. But also the game of golf can help heal a lot of that, too. It can help grow it [the game]. And also a lot of top players are going to be playing there that particular week.

“It's traditionally not a golf hotbed, the Middle East. But it has grown quite a bit. I remember going to Dubai for my very first time and seeing maybe two or three buildings in the skyline. Now there is a New York City skyline.

"Again, golf has grown. There were only a few courses when I went to Dubai and now they're everywhere. Same with Abu Dhabi, and maybe eventually in Saudi Arabia."

Jon Rahm has been named European Tour Golfer of the Year.

Rahm enjoyed a superb 2019, which he ended by winning the Race to Dubai with victory in the World Tour Championship last month.

He became the first Spaniard since the late great Seve Ballesteros to finish a year as European number one. 

Rahm prevailed in the Irish Open and Open de Espana as well as in Dubai, while recording two top-10 finishes at majors.

He was tied-ninth at The Masters and tied-third at the US Open, the latter performance at Pebble Beach marking his best finish at a major.

Rahm is the second Spaniard to win the award in the last three years, with Sergio Garcia having claimed it in 2017.

"It is a huge honour for me to be named the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year," said Rahm. "To emulate another of Seve's achievements in winning this award is very humbling, and I'm so proud of what I have achieved this year.

"To win both the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and DP World Tour Championship for a second time, as well as defend the Open de Espana, were all incredible moments.

"But to finish the year as winner of the Race to Dubai is something I'm incredibly proud of achieving at this early stage in my career."

A hobbling Pablo Larrazabal fought back from a dismal collapse in round four of the Alfred Dunhill Championship to win his first European Tour event since June 2015.

Larrazabal's most recent victory had come four-and-a-half years ago at the BMW International Open, yet he looked on course for a comfortable triumph this week after leading by three shots following both the second and third rounds.

That was until a blister on Sunday saw a week's work undone in dramatic fashion, with an awful 41 on the front nine sending Larrazabal tumbling back down the leaderboard at five under.

"I woke up this morning and I didn't think I was going to play," he said afterwards in an emotional interview. "I couldn't put my shoe on, I couldn't walk to the buggy, I couldn't go to the putting green.

"I really struggled today. Front nine, I couldn't walk; back nine, I said to myself, going to 10, 'You cannot walk, you cannot swing'. I had a big blister on my right toe."

But Larrazabal found inspiration in the exploits of the great Tiger Woods at the 2008 U.S. Open, where he triumphed with a left knee missing an anterior cruciate ligament and two stress fractures of his left tibia.

Larrazabal continued: "I said to myself, 'If Tiger can win a U.S. Open with a broken leg, what is a blister?'"

The recovery was remarkable, as the Spaniard birdied three of the final four holes, clinching victory at Leopard Creek and avoiding a play-off against Joel Sjoholm with his putt at the last.

"It's been a long road," Larrazabal said. "I've really struggled the past four years. But this is where I want to be."

As well as his own guts, though, Larrazabal's victory owed a little to the failings of his rivals, with first-round leader Wil Besseling and home hopeful Branden Grace carding respective two-over and one-over rounds to finish alongside Charl Schwartzel, another South African, in a tie for third.

Sjoholm was second and unfortunate to miss out after his own stunning turnaround, having been at even par heading into the weekend.

He followed up Saturday's 68 with a competitive 69, but Larrazabal's three-over 75 improbably proved enough to triumph by a single stroke at eight under.

Pablo Larrazabal retained his three-shot leading going into the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Seeking his first European Tour win since 2015, the Spaniard carded a two-under round of 70 on Saturday.

That maintained his advantage over first-round leader Wil Besseling, who matched his score, while home hope Branden Grace's 71 meant he slipped to four shots behind Larrazabal.

Zander Lombard and Marcus Armitage sit on five under par in a tie for fourth ahead of Sunday's action, six shots behind the leader.

It was Sweden's Joel Sjoholm who had the best round of the day at Leopard Creek with a 68 and he is one of four players sitting on four under.

Eight birdies in the first 13 holes had Sjoholm flying but he dropped a shot at the 16th and double-bogeyed the last in a blow to his hopes of challenging the leaders.

Leader Larrazabal, whose most recent triumph came at the BMW International Open in June 2015, had five birdies and dropped three shots in a steady effort, though one of his bogeys came on the 17th and denied him the chance to extend his advantage.

He earlier overcame finding the water for one of his other dropped shots at the seventh and goes into round four in a strong position with the field well spread out behind him.

On a course where sightings of leopards, monkeys and even elephants are commonplace, it was Wil Besseling who proved a big-game player in the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

The Dutchman, one of several players in the field to take advantage of being allowed to wear shorts for the first time on the European Tour, carded a seven-under 65 to sit one shot clear in sweltering heat at Leopard Creek.

A three-man chasing pack consisting of Pablo Larrazabal, Garrick Porteous and Keith Horne provides the closest competition to Besseling, who has never won on the European Tour.

The event marks the start of the new Race to Dubai campaign but world number 47 Eddie Pepperell is the highest ranked player in action in South Africa, the Englishman signing for a modest 71.

Besseling's card showed just one blemish, which came amid a run of three birdies and an eagle across five holes on the back nine. 

"I played nicely," said Besseling in quotes reported by the European Tour website. "It's a great start for the season and a great round. I'm very happy with my 65.

"I had it going nicely on the par fives. I was able to get there in two with irons and converted the birdies and an eagle on 15 really helped."

Horne was not the only man to give the home fans hope of a South African winner, with 2015 champion Branden Grace joining compatriots Daniel van Tonder and Thomas Aiken on four under. 

Tommy Fleetwood expressed his pride after just missing out on a dream finish to the season and declared it was "Jon's time" after Jon Rahm pulled off a lucrative Dubai double.

Fleetwood made a blistering finish at the DP World Tour Championship on Sunday, birdying five of the last seven holes to sign for a seven-under 65 and join Rahm at the top of the leaderboard.

Both players knew a victory at Jumeirah Golf Estates would also be enough to win the Race to Dubai and it was Rahm who achieved that feat, sinking a short birdie putt at the last to card a 68 and finish 19 under.

Fleetwood claimed his first title for 20 months at the Nedbank Golf Challenge seven days earlier and he was left with mixed emotions, but took the positives out of a strong end to 2019.

"Of course there's always going to be a little bit of disappointment there, but for the most part I wasn't in it, I got myself back in it and I am very proud of the way I played on that back nine," said the Englishman.

"Jon's time, Jon's moment. He's played unbelievable this year and fair play, great birdie down the last and I'm just happy with my week."

Fleetwood is looking forward to recharging his batteries before continuing where he left off at the start of next year.

He added: "I'm looking forward to a break first. I'm looking forward to waking up tomorrow with nothing to do. Kids can go to school, Clare [Fleetwood's wife and manager] can do a bit of work and I can do nothing.

"That's going to be really nice and then get back at it when I do get the clubs out again, but for now I'm just ready for a break.

"These last two weeks have definitely painted the season in a brand new light and I have a lot more satisfaction than before. I'll have a break and get ready to crack on next year."

Jon Rahm was crowned this year's Race to Dubai winner after a birdie at the 18th hole secured the DP World Tour Championship for a second time in his career.

The Spaniard had held a six-shot lead at one stage during the final round, only for playing partner Mike Lorenzo-Vera and a fast-finishing Tommy Fleetwood to close the gap and set up a tense finish.

Fleetwood carded five birdies over the final seven holes to set the clubhouse lead at 18 under par, leaving him to sit and watch on as his 2018 Ryder Cup team-mate finished his round.

Rahm found a bunker with his approach shot to the par-five 18th but held his nerve to get over the line, chipping onto the green before rolling in a putt that not only clinched the tournament but also confirmed he will end the season as the European Tour's number one.

"I feel like I'm going to start crying," an emotional Rahm - who also triumphed at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in 2017 - told Sky Sports. "Man, it was such an up-and-down day.

"[On the] eighth tee I had a six-shot lead and I came down 18 needing a birdie to win. It was hard trying to battle out there, I kind of lost the swing a little bit."

He added: "Hard to believe that besides the putt, the first three shots on 18 is about as calm as I've been all day.

"I told myself on 18, 'How many times do you dream of having to birdie the last hole to win a tournament?'. I hit the best drive of the week, a great four iron the wind didn't take, an outstanding bunker shot and then made the putt."

Rahm's eventful score of 68 mixed eight birdies with four bogeys. He had started the week sitting third in the Race to Dubai standings, but a fourth title on the Rolex Series made sure he will finish 2019 on top.

In doing so, the 25-year-old becomes only the second Spaniard to win the European Tour's order of merit, following in the footsteps of the legendary Seve Ballesteros.

As for Fleetwood, his seven-under 65 was enough to finish alone in second place, with three putts on the final green forcing Lorenzo-Vera to settle for third.

Having led the way in the Race to Dubai going into the final event, Austrian Bernd Wiesberger slipped down the final standings after taking a share of 28th place.

Jon Rahm has goosebumps over the thought of emulating the great Seve Ballesteros and becoming Race to Dubai champion.

A six-under-par 66 on Saturday left Rahm in a tie for first alongside Mike Lorenzo-Vera at the DP World Tour Championship after three rounds and in pole position to win the season-long battle for the European Tour's best player.

Ballesteros is the only other Spaniard to have achieved the honour, doing so six times between 1976 and 1991 when it was known as the Order of Merit.

It is an honour that has eluded such Spanish talents as Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez, and Rahm is determined to grasp his opportunity.

"It gives me goosebumps to think about that," he said in quotes reported by the European Tour.

"I've said it many times, as a Spaniard, any time you join or you have the chance to put your name on a list where there's only one name and that name is Seve, it's pretty impactful. 

"It's really emotional for all of us. To think not even Sergio or Miguel Angel or Olly or many other great players couldn't get it done. 

"It's hard to believe that I have the chance to be the second. I'm just going to try to enjoy the afternoon. There's still 18 more holes to play."

Rory McIlroy looms as an ominous presence just two shots off the pace, with Tommy Fleetwood – Rahm's rival in the Race to Dubai – four shots off the lead.

McIlroy, a three-time Race to Dubai victor, recovered from a disappointing 74 on Friday to shoot himself back into contention for the World Tour Championship trophy with a 65.

"You've got Tommy and Jon up there obviously and Mike's holding steady at the top. He played wonderfully yesterday. I played with him and seems like he's doing a similar thing today," McIlroy said. 

"I'm going to have to go out there and shoot a similar score tomorrow to do what I did today to really have a chance. But I'm just really pleased that I got myself back in the golf tournament."

Jon Rahm holds a share of the lead at the DP World Tour Championship and is on course to win the Race to Dubai title after a magnificent third round.

Rahm started moving day in joint-second place with Tommy Fleetwood - also battling to be crowned European number one - and will begin his final round level with Mike Lorenzo-Vera on 15 under.

The Spaniard matched his six-under opening round of 66 to catch Lorenzo-Vera at Jumeirah Golf Estates, where the leading duo hold a two-shot advantage over Rory McIlroy.

Fleetwood just about had the edge in the tussle for the Race to Dubai title at the halfway mark in the final tournament of the season, but it is advantage Rahm after the Englishman signed for a two-under 70.

World number five Rahm, four shots ahead of Fleetwood, will win the Race to Dubai if he repeats his 2017 triumph at the Earth Course and Bernd Wiesberger finishes lower than solo second.

Wiesberger began the week as the man to catch, but is down in a share of 24th place with his chances looking slim.

Second place will also be good enough for Rahm to overhaul Wiesberger if the Austrian finishes worse than solo 21st and none of Fleetwood, Shane Lowry or Matt Fitzpatrick win the title on Sunday.

Rahm birdied the first two holes and hit the turn in 34 after his only bogey of the day at the eighth, then picked up another four shots on the back nine to draw level with Lorenzo-Vera.

Lorenzo-Vera said he was wary of "big dogs" biting him after ending his second round with a three-shot lead and a solitary bogey at the 18th meant he had to settle for a second successive 69.

Fleetwood could only muster three birdies to leave himself with work to do, while McIlroy enhanced his chances of winning the tournament for a third time by shooting a brilliant seven-under 65 - including an eagle-three at the seventh.

Fitzpatrick is nine shots off the lead, with Lowry a further stroke back.

Mike Lorenzo-Vera is wary of being bitten by the "big dogs" chasing him as the battle for the Race to Dubai title hots up at the DP World Tour Championship.

Lorenzo-Vera holds a three-shot lead on 12 under at the halfway mark at Jumeirah Golf Estates after carding a three-under second round of 69 on Friday.

The Frenchman, who signed for a stunning 63 on day one in Dubai, led by seven strokes on the back nine but bogeyed the last after also dropping a shot at 15.

Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm are in a share of second place in what promises to be a dramatic tussle to be crowned European number one on Sunday, with the Englishman in pole position for that honour as it stands.

Bernd Wiesberger, Race to Dubai leader heading into the season-ending tournament, has work to do at three under, while Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick are also in contention.

Rory McIlroy is six shots adrift of leader Lorenzo-Vera, who is braced for a tense weekend as he eyes a maiden European Tour triumph.

The world number 96 said: "Tactically I know what I have to do, and I know that the winds are going to be different this weekend.

"I'm not going to push more than what I'm doing now. I'm trying to trust my putter 100 per cent and that's what I can do.

"I've got a three-shot lead and it's better than three shots behind. It's just going to be stressful because it's big dogs behind me that are going to try to bite me, so it's going to be interesting."

Fleetwood, winner of the Nedbank Golf Challenge last weekend, knows he must not suffer a lapse in concentration with so much at stake.

"It's just a classic case of trying to stay in the moment and take each shot as it comes," he said. "There's a lot going on over the weekend; there's a lot of different scenarios and players in the mix.

"There's a lot of things going on around you so the more internally focused you can be and the more you can just stay in your bubble, it will just be a great challenge going into the weekend trying to do that."

Mike Lorenzo-Vera holds a three-shot lead in the DP World Tour Championship, while Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm boosted their chances of winning the Race to Dubai title on Friday.

Lorenzo-Vera started the day with a one-shot lead ahead of Rory McIlroy after signing for an opening 63 - the lowest first round in the history of the tournament.

The Frenchman led by a mammoth seven shots on the back nine at Jumeirah Golf Estates, but his advantage over Fleetwood and Rahm was reduced to three when he bogeyed the last hole.

Lorenzo-Vera, bidding to win a first European Tour title in what is the last event of the season, is 12 under after signing for a three-under 69 on the Earth Course.

The world number 96 started with back-to-back birdies and hit the turn in 33 after further gains at the seventh and eighth holes, but a second dropped shot of his round at 15 and another at 18 mean he is not sitting quite so pretty.

Fleetwood carded a four-under 68 and is course to be crowned European number one for a second time, a seventh birdie of the day at the final hole also enhancing his prospects of winning back-to-back titles.

The Englishman, who claimed the Nedbank Golf Challenge title last weekend, was seven adrift of Lorenzo-Vera when the leader chipped for a birdie at 14, but is well poised in a share of second place with Rahm.

Rahm sunk a putt from around 12 feet for an eagle-three at 18, recovering well on the back nine after a double-bogey at the eighth.

The Spaniard and Fleetwood both know they can be crowned Race to Dubai champion if they finish solo second, provided Bernd Wiesberger fails to shoot up the leaderboard.

Austrian Wiesberger started the season finale as the man to catch and will be guaranteed to fend off the rivals chasing him down if he finishes outright second, but is joint-13th following a 71.

Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick, the other two contenders to win the Race to Dubai, are in a share of 13th and 17th respectively.

McIlroy is six shots off the lead after a disappointing 74, while Tom Lewis sits five behind Lorenzo-Vera on seven under.

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