Fleetwood And Reed Have Molinari In Their Sights At WGC-HSBC Champions
With Tommy Fleetwood and Patrick Reed now within striking distance of Francesco Molinari at the top of the standings for the Race to Dubai, the final round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai has taken on even greater significance.
Molinari, who started the week at Sheshan International with a lead of almost 1.4 million points over Fleetwood and 1.6 million points over Reed, suddenly finds himself vulnerable to attack. With each dollar in prize money representing one point in the standings, and with a first prize of $1.7 million, the Italian knew before play began this week that victory would virtually seal his place as European No.1 for 2018 with three tournaments still to play.
But while the Open champion has struggled to find any semblance of form in Shanghai, his two main rivals in the Race to Dubai are nicely placed to mount a challenge for the WGC-HSBC Champions. Reed goes into the final day three strokes behind fellow American Tony Finau and in a share of second place with Justin Rose and Xander Schauffele. Fleetwood, who is no stranger to very low final rounds (for good measure, he had a 62 at this year’s US Open), trails by five but could easily make them up, such is his standard of play.
It all adds up to an intriguing final day, with so many plots and sub plots. Can Finau win for the first time since 2016? Can Rose become the first player since Tiger Woods in 2007 successfully to defend a WGC title? Can Schauffele win his first big event? Can Reed or Fleetwood overtake Molinari in the Race to Dubai standings? Whichever way you look at it, this is sporting drama of the highest order.