Rory Roars Into The Race To Dubai
HONG KONG | Rory McIlroy put all the off-the-
course tabloid drama, the twitter babble and the
texting madness aside Sunday. At least for now.
By holing a greenside bunker shot on the
72nd hole, the world’s No. 2-ranked player
captured the UBS Hong Kong Open
by two shots and set the stage this
week for a dramatic conclusion to
the European Tour’s season-long
Race to Dubai.
If the 22-year-old McIlroy wins
this week’s Dubai World Champion-
ship and current standings leader
Luke Donald finishes outside the top
nine, McIlroy will dash Donald’s hopes of being
the leading money winner on the U.S. and Euro
Tours in the same season.
A victory also will go a long way toward eas-
ing the jet-lagged Northern Irishman’s holiday
time. And that will be a welcome respite from
the din of the social networks for a player who,
among other things in 2011:
w Won the U. S. Open;
w Fired his agent, Chubby Chandler;
w Carried on a very public romance with
Caroline Wozniacki, the No. 1-ranked
women’s tennis player in the world.
McIlroy’s Sunday 65 at the par-70 Hong Kong
Golf Club left him at 12-under par and two clear
of runner-up Frenchman Gregory Havret.
Sweden’s Peter Hanson wound up third at 9
under, one ahead of three players – England’s
Ian Poulter, Scotland’s Richie Ramsay and
Thailand’s Pariya Junhasavasdikul.
Spain’s Alvaro Quiros, the 54-hole leader,
slumped to a closing 73 and a share of seventh.
“I’ve wanted to win this tournament so badly
since (losing) that playoff in 2008,” said McIlroy,
who has finished second, second, sixth and first
in the past four years at this event. “That was
one of the goals going out today, to win this
tournament and keep myself within a shout
“I just hit a perfect bunker shot,” McIlroy
said of his winning blow. “Once it landed on the
green, it never looked anywhere else. When
the ball went in the hole, I think that’s the most
excited I’ve maybe ever been on a golf course.
It was just incredible to see the ball drop and
realise that I had finally won this tournament.”
Meanwhile, there was no change to the
European Tour top 60 who will appear in Dubai
next week – Sweden’s Christian Nilsson hang-
ing onto 60th place ahead of Scotland’s Stephen
Gallacher by € 3,931.
In the battle for European Tour cards, Gareth
Maybin (tied 39th) and Keith Horne (tied 42nd)
did enough to move into the top 118 at the expense of Simon Khan and Mark Tullo.
Khan’s 2010 BMW PGA Championship win
sees him exempt for 2012, but Chile’s Tullo
faces a trip to Qualifying School.
Staff and Wire Reports
ONE FOR THE MONEY
The top five entering the season-ending
Dubai World Championship:
1 LUKE DONALD
2 RORY MCILROY
3 MARTIN KAYMER
4 CHARL SCHWARTZEL