(Reuters) – Francesco Molinari finished Race to Dubai title after Tommy Fleetwood failed to win the season-long DP World Tour Championship, where England's Danny Willett got his first title of 2-1 / 2 years on Sunday.
Molinari has had a remarkable season that won his big championship on the English Open together with his first Rolex Series title at the BMW PGA Championship.
Englandman Fleetwood, who needed to win at the Jumeirah Golf Estates to take over Molinari on the European Tour money list, ended with a final round of four under par 68 to end 10-under a total of eight shots behind potential winner Willett.
"It's incredible," said Molinari. "Now I'll have time to sit and relax and really think back in recent months.
"This morning on the first tee, the message is the winner of The Open Championship, Race to Dubai Leader, it does not sound right now.
"It's more than I ever dreamed of achieving. I've seen guys I think are better players than I did not win Majors and not winning Order of Merits or Race to Dubai. Achieving these things in a single season is just incredible. "
Molinari was also part of Team Europe's Ryder Cup victory over the United States at Le Golf National in September, becoming the first European to win five points out of five.
Four of these points won the match with team mate Fleetwood.
"It's difficult in a way as it would have been easier to play against someone other than him (Fleetwood)," added Molinari.
"I know how talented he is and I really thought he would win it and put me in a hard place.
"He is obviously a good guy and a super talented player and I'm sure I'm younger than I, he will win some more Race to Dubai."
BACKGROUND TO WINNING WAY
Willett produced a late birdie spree to return to the winning circuit for the first time since his memorable US champion won in 2016.
The 31-year-old seemed to miss his chance when he started nine back with two bogeys in three holes.
But birdies of 14, 15 and 17 insured signing for a final round of 68, finishing two shots before the player Patrick Reed and compatriot Matt Wallace.
Willett missed five of his first seven cuts this season but a tied eighth finish on the Italian Open kicked off his campaign before claiming his sixth European Tournament Title on Earth Course.
"You never really know when a victory is around the corner and with all the things that have happened, I was never quite sure if it would happen again," he said.
"To happen here at the end of the year we have been struggling long and hard through this season to get out at the end, no matter what happened today, a better person and a better athlete. It's a special place."
(Reporting of Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing Toby Davis)