By Brian Keogh
Shane Lowry. Photo by Golffile
Shane Lowry can still win the Race to Dubai but Rory McIlroy is out of the running — and without caddie Harry Diamond — after Bernd Wiesberger tied for third behind Tommy Fleetwood in the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
Wiesberger extended his lead at the top and mathematically ended McIlroy's hopes of overtaking him this week when he finished four shots outside a playoff that saw Fleetwood deny Sweden's Marcus Kinhult (23) with a par four at the first extra hole. Scores
The Austrian had a chance to wrap up the Race to Dubai with a win yesterday but while he faltered by dropping three shots in his last four holes at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, only Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Lowry or Matthew Fitzpatrick can deny him now.
Fitzpatrick must win while the other three will likely need to finish second at worst in this week's season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai to have a chance.
McIlroy could still edge closer to world No 1 Brooks Koepka by winning his fifth title of the season over the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
However, the Holywood star will have Northern Ireland friend Niall O'Connor on his bag as regular caddie Diamond spends time at home with his newborn baby girl, who arrived last week.
Tommy Fleetwood. Photo by Golffile
Fleetwood is now Wiesberger's biggest threat after he made three eagles in a seven-under-par 65 to win after a playoff and move ahead of Rahm and Lowry to second in the Race to Dubai.
The Southport star (28) set the target at 12-under par at the Gary Player Country Club and was joined at the top by Kinhult, who closed with a 68.
The Swede was forced to lay up after a poor drive on their return to the tough 18th for the playoff, however, and Fleetwood got up and down from right of the green for a winning par, holing a five-footer for his first win for 22 months.
"It feels good, emotional," said Fleetwood who won $2.5 million, the biggest first prize in European Tour history before this week's winner claims $3 million. "It was one of the best (rounds of my career) for sure."
He added: "It's such a great, great thing and a feeling to be playing with a chance to win The Race to Dubai in the last event."
Pádraig Harrington tied for 20th in Sun City on one-under par thanks to a final round 71, winning €57,158
At the PGA Tour's weather-delayed Mayakoba Golf Classic, Graeme McDowell closed with rounds of 71 and 67 to finish tied 23rd in the clubhouse on nine-under par. Scores
Play was suspended due to darkness at El Camaleon with 2006 Ryder Cup player Vaughn Taylor and the recent Bermuda Championship winner Brendon Todd tied for the lead on 20-under par through 14 holes.
They were one stroke clear of Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz (17 holes) and Harris English (14 holes) with Adam Long fifth on 18-under through 15 holes.