The scenarios for the Race to Dubai with just two events remaining in 2018
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 07/11/18 4:20pm
Francesco Molinari remains a firm favourite to succeed Tommy Fleetwood as European No 1 this season but, with just two events left, there are four other players who can deny the Italian.
Molinari is highly likely to become the first Italian to win the Race to Dubai crown with his closest rivals, including Fleetwood and fellow Ryder Cup team-mate Rory McIlroy, needing victories in at least one of the remaining two tournaments of the season.
Here are the scenarios for each player in the frame ahead of this week's penultimate event - the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City...
The Open champion is a firm favourite to be crowned European No 1 for the first time in his career despite opting to miss two of the three season-ending events.
Molinari is not in the field for this week's Nedbank Golf Challenge, but his lead at the top of the Race to Dubai standings remains at over one million euros ahead of reigning champion Tommy Fleetwood and world No 1 Justin Rose, who are also not competing in Sun City.
If Rory McIlroy wins this week, then Molinari would need a runner-up finish at the DP World Tour Championship to guarantee the Race to Dubai crown whoever the champion is in Dubai.
Last year's European No 1 still has a mathematical chance to retain his crown, but after opting to miss the Nedbank Golf Challenge, Fleetwood needs a victory in Dubai to deny his Ryder Cup team-mate.
And even if Fleetwood can pick up his first victory since defending his Abu Dhabi title in January, he would also need Molinari to finish no better than fifth at the season finale to win the Race to Dubai back-to-back.
The equation for the three-time European No 1 is fairly simple; he needs to win at least one of the two remaining events - and possibly both - to win the Race to Dubai for the fourth time in his career.
If he can win this week in Sun City, he could claim the Race to Dubai with a solo runner-up finish in Dubai, but only if Molinari finishes outside the top six.
If McIlroy is the outright runner-up at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, then he would need to win the DP World Tour Championship for a third time and hope that Molinari finishes no higher than seventh.
And, even if McIlroy won both the remaining tournaments, Molinari would still top the overall standings if he finished runner-up in Dubai - as long as he does not share second with more than one other player.
Despite not posting a top-10 finish on the European Tour since pipping McIlroy to the Omega Dubai Desert Classic title in January, Li still has a slim chance of winning the Race to Dubai.
However, the Chinese ace, who lost to Justin Rose in a play-off in Turkey last week, would need to win both the Nedbank Golf Challenge and the DP World Tour Championship, with Molinari finishing outside the top four next week.
Bjerregaard has been one of the most consistent players on Tour this year with no fewer than 10 top-10 finishes including his win at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last month.
But to become the first player from Denmark to win the Race to Dubai is a tall order, with Bjerregaard - like Li - needing back-to-back victories with Molinari finishing out of the top eight in the season finale next week.