Jason Scrivener and Scott Hend will share in the $US8 million ($A11.7 million) bounty on offer at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship later this week after qualifying in vastly different circumstances at the penultimate event of the European Tour season.
Entering the week 59th in the Race to Dubai rankings, Scrivener [pictured] signalled his intentions with an eagle at his very first hole of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Gary Player Country Club on Thursday and carried that momentum through the remaining 71 holes.
His opening round of three-under 69 was his best for the week but four sub-par rounds kept the 30-year-old West Australian in contention until the very end.
Three birdies in his opening five holes on Sunday put a maiden European Tour title well within reach but a back nine of one-over 37 – and a red-hot Tommy Fleetwood – saw Scrivener finish tied for third, equal to his best finish on the European Tour.
Fleetwood – who had to get past Swede Marcus Kinhult in a playoff to claim his first win since the 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship – took home a cheque for €2.26 million, adding to the cash he and Gavin Green won from Scrivener and Hend in a practice round earlier in the week.
The €343,555 prizemoney won by Scrivener represents the biggest individual pay day of his career, but it was the 517 Race to Dubai points that could yet prove to be most significant.
Scrivener’s jump of 24 spots to 35th was second only to Belgian Thomas Detry and elevated him into the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai for the first time in his career.
“A big goal of mine at the start of the year was to get to Dubai,” Scrivener said after his closing two-under 70. “Pretty happy with that and looking forward to that.
“To be honest I haven’t had any time to really think about it. I haven’t even got the flights booked. Just going to take it as it comes. Feel like I’m playing well enough to contend and yeah, just looking forward to it.”
After missing last year’s season finale, Hend is also headed to Dubai yet was forced to endure a nervous wait before his place in the field was confirmed.
Sitting 46th in the rankings heading to Sun City, Hend’s opening round of five-over 77 put him on the back foot but it was his closing two holes that put his spot in Dubai in the greatest jeopardy.
One-under through 11 holes, Hend made a bogey at the par-4 17th and then double-bogey at the par-4 finishing hole to end the week tied for 48th.
When the final calculations were completed, the Queenslander was in 50th position by less than four points to scrape into the field, admitting later on Twitter that, “lots of guys could have made the result different. The numbers fell my way this time.”
The Nedbank Golf Challenge did represent the end of the European Tour season for Kiwi Ryan Fox, who dropped three spots in the Race to Dubai rankings to finish the year in 57th position.