Golf roundup: Rory McIlroy adds Euro title to FedEx Cup for big 2022

AP photo by Martin Dokoupil / Rory McIlroy tees off on the 18th hole Saturday during the third round of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Jon Rahm won the tournament Sunday as McIlroy finished fourth, but that was good enough to finish atop the season points list on the Europe-based circuit.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Another year without a major title was no less special for Rory McIlroy, who finished Sunday as Europe's top-ranked golfer for the fourth time and became only the second player to capture season titles on the PGA Tour and the Euro circuit now known as the DP World Tour.

Jon Rahm felt the same way.

The 28-year-old Spaniard opened with three straight birdies on his way to a 5-under-par 67 to win the DP World Tour Championship for the third time. He finished at 20-under 268 at Jumeirah Golf Estates, two strokes ahead of England's Tyrrell Hatton (66) and Sweden's Alex Noren (67).

"Hopefully, people can stop telling me that it was a bad year," said Rahm, the 2021 U.S. Open champion who failed to finish in the top 10 at any of the four majors in 2022. "Three wins worldwide, three wins in three different continents. Yeah, it wasn't a major championship, but it's still a really, really good season."

Rahm also won the Mexico Open on the PGA Tour and the Spanish Open to go along with the European season finale that came with a $3 million prize.

Northern Ireland's McIlroy, 33, has gone eight years since winning his fourth major, but he finished in the top eight in all four big events this season and won the Tour Championship to take the FedEx Cup and its $18 million bonus, along with winning the Canadian Open and the CJ Cup in South Carolina. Along the way, he returned to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

"I think my goal has been to just become a more complete golfer, and I feel like I'm on the journey to doing that," McIlroy said. "I'm as complete a golfer as I feel like I've ever been, and hopefully I can continue on that path."

McIlroy's main challenge in the DP World rankings came from England's Matt Fitzpatrick, whose bid for the Harry Vardon Trophy blew up around the turn.

The U.S. Open champion needed to win and for McIlroy to not finish runner-up, or to finish second and have the Northern Irishman to be outside the top seven. Neither of those scenarios transpired as Fitzpatrick, three off the lead, took a double bogey on No. 8 and then dropped another shot at the 10th to end his chances.

McIlroy did not need any of the fireworks of the previous day, when he powered himself into contention with a 65. He could have tied Rahm with an eagle on the par-5 18th but had to settle for par and a 68 to finish fourth at 16 under — three ahead of Fitzpatrick (73) and Tommy Fleetwood (69).

Henrik Stenson in 2013 is the only other player to win the FedEx Cup and top Europe's points list in the same year.

Breakthrough victory

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — Adam Svensson handled the cold air and the heat of contention as if he had been there before, closing with a 6-under 64 at the RSM Classic to gain his first PGA Tour victory.

Svensson, a 28-year-old Canadian, was locked in a four-way tie for the lead on the closing stretch of the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club when he poured in an 18-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole, then hit a tee shot to 10 feet on the par-3 17th for a birdie that gave him a cushion.

Sea Island resident Brian Harman (65) and fellow American player Sahith Theegala (66) were in the group ahead of Svensson but missed birdie chances from about 25 feet on the closing hole. England's Callum Tarren (64) was the first to post at 17-under par and was hopeful of a playoff, but Svensson capped his bogey-free final round with a par for a two-shot win over the trio.

He finished at 19-under 263 and played the tougher Seaside Course in 20 under the final three rounds. His tournament began with a 73 on the Plantation Course, which put him in a tie for 108th. His first job was to make the cut, and he wound up winning the trophy.

Svensson is starting his third full year on the PGA Tour and gets a two-year exemption, along with a trip to the Masters — the year's first major will bring him back to Georgia in April — and the PGA Championship. He has never competed in a major.

"To be honest, it's not even real right now," Svensson said. "I'm so happy. I put so much work in. To win on the PGA Tour means everything to be me."

Five players tied for fifth at 15 under. Patrick Rodgers and Ben Martin, who shared the 54-hole lead, couldn't keep up. Rodgers didn't make his first birdie until the 13th hole and closed with a 70 to tie for 10th, while Martin (72) shared 21st at 12 under.

Harris English (65) finished at 11 under and tied for 29th, the best showing among three Baylor School graduates who made the cut. Keith Mitchell (69) shared 39th at 9 under, while Stephan Jaeger (67) tied for 46th at 7 under.

The PGA Tour will take a six-week break in its final wraparound season before resuming the first week of January with the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. Svensson, the last man to qualify for that field, won $1,458,000 on Sunday, more than he earned in either of his two previous seasons on the PGA Tour.

Career day for Ko

NAPLES, Fla. — Lydia Ko has never won more in one day than on Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship, where she earned the richest prize in women's golf at $2 million with a victory that allowed her to clinch the LPGA Tour's player of the year honor.

Ko, a 25-year-old New Zealander, outlasted Ireland's Leona Maguire in the final round, seizing control with a seven-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole and closing with 2-under 70 for a two-shot victory at 17-under 271. Maguire closed with a 72, while Sweden's Anna Nordqvist (67) was third at 14 under, two ahead of England's Georgia Hall (67) and South Korea's Jeongeun Lee6 (70).

Unflappable in a strong but occasional wind, Ko wiped away tears when she tapped in for par on the final hole at Tiburon Golf Club.

"There was a lot of things on the line today," Ko said. "I really wanted to play the best golf I can. I knew it would be a tough battle, especially with how tough the conditions were."

The $2 million prize pushed her season earnings to just more than $4.3 million, leaving her $591 short of Lorena Ochoa's record for single-season earnings set in 2007. Ko clinched the points-based award as tour's top player for the second time, and she won the Vare Trophy for the second straight year for having the lowest scoring average.

Tied with Maguire at the start of the final round, Ko took her first lead with a birdie on the par-3 eighth hole and stayed ahead from there to win the LPGA Tour finale for the second time. Her first title in the CME Group Tour Championship was in 2014.

She won three times in 2022 for her first multiple-win season since 2016 and has 19 career victories. The first came 10 years ago, when she was a 15-year-old amateur, making her the youngest to win an LPGA Tour event.