Rose had a chance to overtake his compatriot at the top of the standings, only to fall short of putting the eagle required on the 18th hole in the season finale Tour Championship.
Instead, a modest final-round 74 for Fleetwood in Dubai was enough to finish top of the pile and earn him a big cash prize, contributing to what he describes as "the best year" of his life.
"It wasn't pretty today; I didn't play how I'd like to and it just showed how tough golf is," he told reporters. "From 11 and 12 onwards it was difficult not to think about what Justin was doing.
"He played amazing for three-and-half days and that back nine showed golf can be a tough and unfair game, but I'll say it for a while that Race to Dubai champion is very, very cool.
"It's been a big year, baby Frankie arriving safely and he's great, I'm going to get married in a couple of weeks. It has been the best year of my life by an absolute mile.
"On the course has been great, I've played some of the best golf of my career and done things that I've never done before. Off the course I'm just such a happy person so we'll have to think of ways to better this one."