The 2023 DP World Tour season is over as Nicolai Højgaard took home the Tour Championship title while Rory McIlroy earned his fifth Race to Dubai trophy.

The 22-year-old Højgaard signed for a final round 64 to win by two shots over Matt Wallace, Viktor Hovland and Tommy Fleetwood.

He closed the tournament out in a flurry, birdieing five of his final six holes to capture his first Rolex Series event and his third DP World Tour tournament.

“I didn’t think about what kind of tournament or what size or anything else,” Højgaard said. “All week we focused, and to be sitting here now — we talked about it early this year and this week, as well, really wanted to get a win. And to do that, we needed to put in a lot of work, and we put in a lot of work this year.”

“I’m so proud of my team and everyone involved that did put in the work, and I couldn’t wish for better people to have around me. It feels amazing, closing out in style with family and friends.”

He started the day three shots off the leader. The Dane took the lead on 10 and then fired off five birdies in a row from the 13th through the 17th to get to 21-under.

With this victory, Højgaard is now in the Top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings. He will get an invitation to the Masters Tournament in April, and the door opens wide for him.

“I was hoping to make a run the last two weeks to get close to the Top-50, so to finish out like this, it doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed, Top-50 for next year, but this is the sweetest way to finish the year,” he said. “I can’t believe we finished on such a high note, and definitely going to enjoy this.”

Højgaard recorded nine DP World Tour top-10 finishes this season, including four in his last five starts. Last week, he was runner-up to Max Homa at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa. He also tied for fifth at the Omega European Masters and was solo third at the D+D Real Czech Masters.

He also finished second behind McIlroy in the Race to Dubai standings.

McIlroy captured his fifth Harry Vardon Trophy a week before the season finale, so this week didn’t require a victory from him. He tied for 22nd at 10-under.

Adding to his 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2022 Harry Vardon trophies, McIlroy is now third on the all-time list. He is one behind Seve Ballesteros and three behind Colin Montgomerie in the history books.

McIlroy won two Rolex Series events this season, the Hero Dubai Desert Classic and the Genesis Scottish Open. He also secured three top-10s in major championships and missed only one cut on the DP World Tour.

The four-time major winner said after the round on Sunday he has eight to 10 years left in the tank for competition golf.

“I’ve still got a little bit left in the tank,” McIlroy said. “I’d like to think that I’m going to challenge, at least try to get past Seve and then sort of try to get past Monty as well. But it’s certainly a goal of mine for the rest of my career to do something like that. It would mean a lot to me.”

McIlroy has already committed to playing in the Hero Dubai Desert Classic and the new Dubai Invitational in January 2024.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.


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