Joint leaders Patrick Reed and Danny Willett tee off at 12.00 in the final round of the DP World Tour Championship on Sunday.
Here’s the groups and UAE tee times for the final round.
07:00 Ian Poulter
07:10 Chris Wood, Jorge Campillo
07:20 Martin Kaymer, Brandon Stone
07:30 Robert Rock, Joakim Lagergren
07:40 Darren Fichardt, Lucas Herbert
07:50 Aaron Rai, Paul Dunne
08:00 Mike Lorenzo-vera, Alexander Levy
08:10 Matthew Fitzpatrick, Thorbjørn Olesen
08:20 Lee Slattery, Ryan Fox
08:30 Branden Grace, Russell Knox
08:45 Ashun Wu, Ross Fisher
08:55 Sam Horsfield, Lucas Bjerregaard
09:05 Matthew Southgate, Hideto Tanihara
09:15 Joost Luiten, Xander Schauffele
09:25 Mikko Korhonen, Francesco Molinari
09:35 Chris Paisley, Erik Van Rooyen
09:45 Shane Lowry , Tommy Fleetwood
09:55 Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters
10:05 Rafa Cabrera Bello, Haotong Li
10:15 Wade Ormsby, Thomas Detry
10:30 Dylan Frittelli, Andrea Pavan
10:40 Andy Sullivan, Tyrrell Hatton
10:50 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Rory Mcilroy
11:00 Alexander Björk, Alex Noren
11:10 Henrik Stenson, Jon Rahm
11:20 Shubhankar Sharma, Sergio Garcia
11:30 Tom Lewis, Adrian Otaegui
11:40 Dean Burmester, Matt Wallace
11:50 Jordan Smith, Lee Westwood
12:00 Danny Willett, Patrick Reed
Francesco Molinari strengthened his grip on the Race to Dubai title despite a late stumble on the opening day of the DP World Tour Championship.
Molinari enjoyed a share of the lead after 14 holes of the first round at Jumeirah Golf Estates, only to three-putt both the 15th and 18th to card a 68 and finish two shots behind joint leaders Jordan Smith and Adrian Otaegui.
And with playing partner, Ryder Cup team-mate and Race to Dubai rival Tommy Fleetwood making an unlikely birdie on the last from off the green, the reigning European number one was just a shot behind following a battling 69.
“After the first eight holes I could have been a few better,” said Fleetwood, who has to win this week and hope Molinari finishes outside the top five to retain his title.
“I played lovely and burnt the edges on a couple of putts, so after eight it was a case of just stay patient and pick some birdies as you go along.
Fleetwood 🆚 Molinari pic.twitter.com/971pImBbf3— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) November 15, 2018
“The back nine was completely opposite pretty much from 12 onwards. I really struggled and just made really, really good up-and-downs. You can’t really rely on that for the rest of the week, so I’ll have to do a little bit of work on whatever it was and sort it out by tomorrow.
“Sometimes those are the rounds that maybe win you golf tournaments at the end of the week and that’s kind of what I’ve been lacking a little bit throughout the year.
“You come into this week still with a chance of the Race to Dubai, one round down and we still have a chance. As long as our head’s above water for that, we’ll be happy and keep going.”
Molinari, who would be the first Italian to finish top of the money list, said: “It’s only Thursday so there are so many things that can happen. Both of us did not hit the ball our best but we managed to scramble well and close out two decent rounds.
“I did a good job of thinking shot by shot and that’s what I need to do. I don’t think there is any benefit to thinking about what-ifs. It’s too early.”
Defending champion Jon Rahm and Danny Willett are a shot off the lead on five under, with Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed part of a 12-way tie on three under on a day when 46 of the 60-man field shot par or better.
It has been a season of firsts for Francesco Molinari, but the Ryder Cup star is looking forward to two more before finally being able to reflect on a remarkable year.
Molinari became the first Italian player to win a major when he claimed the Open Championship at Carnoustie, which followed victory in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and a maiden PGA Tour title in the Quicken Loans National.
The 36-year-old then became the first European player to compile a perfect 5-0 record in the Ryder Cup victory at Le Golf National, having already teamed up with Tommy Fleetwood to become the first European pair to win all four of their matches together.
And now Molinari is primed to win the Race to Dubai for the first time before becoming the first golfer to be awarded the Collare d’oro al merito sportivo, the highest honour conferred by the Italian National Olympic Committee.
“It’s definitely going to be a special moment,” Molinari said. “I think so far it’s only been given to Olympic gold medallists or world champions. It shows how well my win at the Open was received and hopefully it’s another step towards golf being more popular in Italy.
“Since May it’s all been going very fast and very quickly and so many things happening one after the other, that I haven’t had time really to sit down and think through what’s happened in the last few months.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to do the job this week and then sit down next week and start reflecting on the season and digest everything that’s happened before, starting to prepare for next year.
“I’ve seen my family in London but I haven’t been back to Italy (since winning the Open). There are a few people that I’d like to share the Claret Jug with, probably a lot less people than the requests I get so I’ll have to manage that, but it’s going to be fun.”
Molinari leads Fleetwood by just over a million points in the Race to Dubai ahead of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, where a top-five finish will guarantee him the title even if Fleetwood, the reigning European number one, were to win.
The ‘Moliwood’ pair will play together in Thursday’s first round and Molinari concedes their close friendship will make it impossible to attempt any sort of mind games.
“I know we’re going to sound really cheesy, but if I don’t win I’d rather see him win than anyone else,” Molinari added. “We really are good friends and to think that he comes here still with a chance to win two in a row, it’s incredible, really.
“For me it’s been a great season and however it goes this week, I’m still going to have lots of great memories from all of what I’ve done this year, and probably the best memory is what we’ve done together with him in France.
“I can’t really be mad at him, even if he wins.
“I would never have guessed I would be in this position if you had told me in April or May, but it’s been an incredible summer topped by an unbelievable Ryder Cup. Hopefully I will be able to close it out but it’s not going to be easy and I am not making any assumptions.
“It would mean a lot. I think it doesn’t matter how much you achieve in the game. Obviously you will still be wanting to achieve more, first of all. Second, it would mean a lot because it’s a season, year race, which makes it a lot harder to win.
“You can have the best week of your life and win one tournament, but to win a competition that lasts throughout the season, with the amount of talent there is right now on the European Tour, is something really hard to do but also still hard to figure out for me how I’m here in this position.”