Shane Lowry finished like a Ferrari as the Race to Dubai turned into the demolition derby and Tommy Fleetwood edged out a faltering Justin Rose to become European No 1.
A closing, nine-under 63 by the Offaly man earned him a tie for second in the DP World Tour Championship worth €612,355, a 28-place jump to 22nd in the final Race to Dubai standings, a morale-boosting leap to 58th in the world, a place in The Open and a fistful of Ryder Cup points.
Spain's Jon Rahm took advantage of a back nine collapse from Rose — the Englishman dropped three shots in five holes and eventually shot 70 to tie for fourth — adding the DP World Tour Championship to his European Tour Rookie of the Year gong.
On day when Paul Dunne crashed to a 75 to limp home tied for 25th, his plans of getting off to a fast start smashed by a double bogey seven at the second, Rahm overhauled Lowry and Kiradech Aphibarnrat at the top of the leaderboard when he parred the 18th for a 67 to win by a shot on 19-under par.
Rose knew that a win in Dubai would give him his second European money title since 2007
But as he faltered down the stretch with bogeys at the 12th, 14th and 16th and with Fleetwood sharing 21st on 11-under after a 74, he needed an eagle at the 18th to claim the money title and failed to hole a 100-foot putt from just off the front edge.
Lowry finished 90 minutes before Rose and while he never believed his 18-under total would be enough, he was happy to bring his European Tour campaign to a close with his sixth top 12 finishes from his last nine events - a run he has played in 83 under par averaging 68.67 per round.
"I felt it was out there," Lowry said after taking advantage of a benign course set-up, firing 10 birdies and just one bogey to overhaul Dunne as the leading Irishman in the world rankings.
"I didn't know I was going to shoot the best score of the season on my last day of the season. At least it gives me something to smile about going into my Christmas break."
Projected to move to eighth in the Ryder Cup qualifying standings behind fifth-ranked Dunne, he said: "My iron play has been great over the last while. I've given myself lots of chances. The last few weeks, managed to hole a few putts and this week in particular, I felt like I drove it quite well. I felt like my whole game came together this week."
Left to rue a bogey-par finish on Saturday, he added: "Disappointing finish yesterday. That really kind of put me out of the running to win the tournament...
"I'm happy with my results, a few World Ranking points and a few valuable Ryder Cup points, as well. Looking forward to a nice break in the winter and back out in January."
Speaking to Meridian Media's Denis Kirwan, he went on: "It's nice. I really feel I was in the hunt at the end, which was nice as well. These last two months of golf have been quite enjoyable for me.
"I have given myself a couple of chances to do really well, I've had a couple of bad Sundays as well. But this is like payback for any bad scores on a Sunday.
"I have had a lot of good finishes over the last while and I am very happy going into my off-season."
It's been a sensational season for Dunne, who finished 16th in the Race to Dubai with €1,695,041, clinching a place in The Open at Carnoustie next year for finishing in the top 30 in the money list.
"A good year but a terrible day," Dunne tweeted before heading off to finish in his year in next week's UBS Hong Kong Open, the first event of the 2018 season. "Delighted for @TommyFleetwood1 winning race to Dubai and thrilled for @ShaneLowryGolf #63"
Fleetwood, 26, was thrilled to become European No 1 after being pushed all the way by Rose, who won the Turkish Airlines Open and the Nedbank Golf Challenge to put him under serious pressure in Dubai.
"It's the biggest day of my career for sure," the Southport man said. "The emotions were difficult on me because I don't trust computers, so even when everything had finished, it was so difficult to get up or down.
"Then I felt for Justin a lot, you know, because I saw him when he came in. I think how gracious he was, shows a lot about his character."
Rose wasn't beating himself up over the pulled eight iron to the 12th, the approach into the water at the par-five 14th or the bunkered tee shot at the 16th that cost him dear in the end.
"I am not overly disappointed," Rose told Sky Sports. "This was such a great opportunity. I played great golf at the end of the year. To shoot two under on a tricky day, I am not going to put myself over the grill on it.
"Obviously, I played a really, really good front nine. I felt like Dylan [Frittelli] was right there with me in the same group. That's what you want to do, tee off with the lead and play the front nine like I did.
"It kind of came down to 12. I had an eight iron to a left pin there that was a pretty straightforward shot and I make bogey. That sapped the momentum the wrong way coming down the stretch.
"With other guys chasing and making some birdies my momentum went the wrong way versus theirs. But saying that, I was still there going down 14 and I thought things were in hand. It was a moment in the round where I should have backed off a shot. Something happened. I didn't back off. I went with it and hit in the water.
"So those are the moments you look back on. At that point, if I birdie that, I am at 19 (under) and things are looking good. it was really only a couple of shots and after it was a bit of a grind coming in.
"It was fun to try to hole the bunker shot at 17 and eagle 18, which is what I had to do."
“There was no margin for error and I knew that — one-shot lead on a day like today on a scoreable golf course – it’s the kind of course where you can get out early, fresh greens, no wind and you can really post a number. I’ve don’t it in the past and shot a 62 on a Sunday here so you always know there’s a possibility of someone coming through the pack.
“I came out today knowing I needed to stay positive, stay aggressive, keep the pedal down and I obviously played a great front nine. I was in the moment, I was really calm about things and it just shows, it’s a knife-edge sometimes. I’m proud of the effort I gave at the end of the year.”
On Fleetwood, he said: "He did really well. I followed his golf the last few weeks. In South Africa he put in a really strong weekend then this week he had a couple of great bouncebacks from over par rounds or nines.
"He fought hard for it, he's earned it, he deserves it and he's had a great year. That's what the Race to Dubai is all about. It is not about a week or nine holes, it is about how you play over a year and he deserves it."
Irish Open champion Rahm is now up to fourth in the world from 137th at the start of the year having won the Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour and two of the eight Rolex Series events.
"It's a very special feeling. I've been saying in the interviews after the round, I've been saying it all week, what I've done this year, especially on The European Tour from non-member, nothing, to an affiliate to European Tour champion to actually be Rolex Series Champion and to now twice Rolex Series Champion and winner of the DP World Tour Championship, it's something unbelievable.
"When you accomplish something in life, it's always a great feeling. When you do something that you had in mind, but you know, not really, wasn't a goal at the end of the year and you accomplished something that was years down the road, is just such an incredible feeling.
"It's like, you know, when you have kind of like an errands list and you finish two hours before, it's a very similar feeling. It's very, very special."
DP World Tour Championship, Dubai (Jumeirah Golf Estates, Par 72)
269 J Rahm (Esp) 69 68 65 67,
270 K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 69 67 67 67, Shane Lowry (Irl) 69 70 68 63,
271 J Rose (Eng) 66 70 65 70, S Garcia (Esp) 70 69 67 65, D Frittelli (RSA) 71 68 63 69, D Burmester (RSA) 70 68 65 68,
272 T Hatton (Eng) 72 63 69 68, J Suri (USA) 68 68 68 68,
273 P Uihlein (USA) 71 68 65 69, P Reed (USA) 65 72 68 68,
274 M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 67 67 72 68,
275 M Pavon (Fra) 71 70 67 67, L Haotong (Chn) 72 69 67 67, M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 70 72 65 68, V Dubuisson (Fra) 75 67 68 65,
276 M Kaymer (Ger) 68 72 67 69, A Björk (Swe) 67 71 67 71, R Fisher (Eng) 71 68 68 69, F Molinari (Ita) 69 71 68 68,
277 T Fleetwood (Eng) 73 65 65 74, R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 73 69 66 69, H Porteous (RSA) 70 70 69 68,
278 D Lipsky (USA) 70 72 64 72,
279 Paul Dunne (Irl) 67 70 67 75, J Smith (Eng) 75 67 71 66, C Shinkwin (Eng) 72 69 66 72,
280 J Wang (Kor) 71 70 70 69, C Schwartzel (RSA) 70 72 67 71, R Fox (Nzl) 67 71 73 69,
281 P Waring (Eng) 70 74 70 67, B Grace (RSA) 72 71 68 70, R Sterne (RSA) 71 71 66 73, F Zanotti (Par) 67 75 70 69, I Poulter (Eng) 70 69 70 72,
282 A Levy (Fra) 67 76 70 69, T Olesen (Den) 74 68 69 71, R Ramsay (Sco) 72 72 68 70, A Dodt (Aus) 70 77 69 66, S Kjeldsen (Den) 68 69 70 75, D Horsey (Eng) 68 76 68 70,
283 D Drysdale (Sco) 73 72 69 69, A Otaegui (Esp) 71 69 70 73,
284 J Luiten (Ned) 73 70 71 70,
285 A Noren (Swe) 74 69 70 72, B Wiesberger (Aut) 71 76 71 67, S Jamieson (Sco) 76 71 66 72,
286 S Hend (Aus) 66 71 71 78, E Pepperell (Eng) 75 70 66 75, A Sullivan (Eng) 68 76 69 73, M Warren (Sco) 72 76 68 70,
287 L Westwood (Eng) 75 73 68 71, G Storm (Eng) 76 74 66 71,
288 H Tanihara (Jpn) 73 77 67 71,
292 N Colsaerts (Bel) 68 76 72 76, P Larrazábal (Esp) 69 70 74 79,
293 C Wood (Eng) 70 74 70 79,
294 T Pieters (Bel) 74 74 72 74, G Coetzee (RSA) 70 76 75 73, L Bjerregaard (Den) 75 74 68 77,