SUN CITY, South Africa (Reuters) – Alex Noren has an outside chance of topping the Race to Dubai standings in the United Arab Emirates this weekend but the Swede is only concentrating on playing well at the European Tour’s season-ending event.
The 34-year-old climbed into the top 10 of the world rankings for a first time after rallying for a six-stroke victory after a final-round 63 handed him the Nedbank Golf Challenge title at the Gary Player Country Club on Sunday.
But in order to finish top of the money list, Noren must finish in the top two at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, which starts on Thursday, and then hope the other three contenders are not among the front runners.
Noren is third on the money list but played down the possibility of another sensational come-from-behind success after registering his fourth victory of the season.
“This is out of my mind, I’ll just try to play some good golf next week and we will see what happens,” he told reporters before leaving Sun City.
Compatriot Henrik Stenson is favorite to wrap up the title of Europe’s top golfer with a 299,675-point lead over nearest rival, English U.S. Masters champion Danny Willet.
Noren is 633,436 adrift of his countryman but if he finishes first or second and Stenson is outside the top eight and Willet outside top two, then he can leapfrog them both in the standings.
Rory McElroy, who skipped the last two European Tour events, will only retain his status as the top player on the circuit if he wins in Dubai and Stenson finishes outside the top 45, Willet outside the top five and Noren outside the top two.
On Sunday, the Northern Irishman said he was more interested in trying to displace Australian Jason Day at the top of the world rankings than retaining his order of merit crown.
“I still have a lot to play for this week,” the world number two told Sky Sports. “If I can win I will finish the year as world number one, so that’s a huge incentive.”
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by John O’Brien)