Richie Ramsay seals Dubai berth with third place as Francesco Molinari holds off Lee Westwood

RICHIE Ramsay sealed his place in the season-ending Dubai World Championship in style with a third-place finish behind Francesco Molinari in the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai.

Pride of place in the WGC event went to Molinari as the Italian held off Lee Westwood, the new world No 1, in a thrilling final round, which saw the pair both fire five-under-par 67s.

And second place was easily enough for Westwood to tighten his grip on top spot as his three rivals Tiger Woods (tied sixth), defending champion Phil Mickelson (tied 41st) and Martin Kaymer (tied 30th) finished way off the pace.

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However, Ramsay was also delighted after producing a performance that showed he can compete with the world's best players in the final round, a target he'd set for himself back at the start of the season.

The Aberdonian closed with a level-par 71 to finish in a tie for third with Luke Donald on nine-under, a shot ahead of Rory McIlroy, with Woods, Ernie Els, Paul Casey and Retief Goosen all in a group a further shot behind.

Ramsay's reward was a cheque for 232,000, lifting him to 39th in the Race to Dubai, which means he's now guaranteed to clinch one of the 60 spots in that World Championship event later this month.

"It is great to see the Scottish flag up there on the leaderboard," said Ramsay, who earned his place in the Shanghai event on the back of his South African Open success last year.

"It has been a tough and long week. I took (last week's event at] Valderrama off as a little rest. I knew I needed one good finish in the Race to Dubai. With the calibre of the field and the prize-money, I wanted it to be here and the plan has worked out fantastically well.

"Dubai is now guaranteed and hopefully I've got some more high finishes to come as I can now look forward to (the next two events in] Singapore and Hong Kong."

Ramsay said this performance was just as satisfying as his breakthrough success on the European Tour at Pearl Valley last December. "It is always nice to look up and see players like Ernie, Tiger and (Padraig] Harrington behind you. I'm proud to be ahead of them," he added.

"Over the past few years I've grown and matured in the game and outside it. I'll take a lot of belief from this week. I'm proud of my achievements and it has motivated me for more in the next few weeks.

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"The win in South Africa was unbelievable. However, I remember saying at the start of the year that I wanted to be competing against the Caseys and McIlroys in the thick of things on a Sunday. I've shown I can do that on a tough course playing long...there is definitely more to come."

Molinari, who turns 28 today, held his nerve on the final hole for a combined 19-under-par total of 269 to land him his second European tour title.

"It was a great day of golf for everyone and for the two of us, me and Lee," said Molinari. "I'm obviously amazed at the way I played. It was not easy to have the No 1 player in the world trailing you by one shot. I just played really well, and feel fantastic now."