RORY MCILROY showed his real class on the weekend, responding to a course record by Ross Fisher with five straight closing birdies to snatch the 2012 European Tour’s closing event.
McIlroy had already wrapped up the tour’s season long Race Dubai coming into 2012 DP World Tour Championship and the final day loomed as a head to head clash between the world No.1 and Luke Donald, second in the world rankings.
The pair, both affected somewhat by some kind of bug or virus accentuated by the stifling Dubai heat, began the final round at the Jumeirah Golf Estates as joint leaders.
Fisher was six back at the start but carded a brilliant 10-under 62, breaking the course record at the Greg Norman designed Earth Course by two strokes.
The 32 year old played the last six holes in six under, including an eagle on the 14th to take the outright lead.
McIlroy and Donald both had pedestrian starts with Donald ending a streak of over 100 holes at the course without a bogey early on. Donald’s usually deadly putter just wasn’t coming to the party, and while creeping ahead, McIlroy wasn’t really setting the course on fire either.
Things started to change after the 13th when McIlroy dropped another shot. He rallied to birdie the next two and then with Fisher in the clubhouse leading on 21-under, knew he needed to birdie at least two of the last three holes to avoid a playoff.
A great 20 foot birdie putt on the 16th was followed by an even better tee shot on the difficult par-three 17th to within a few feet of the pin. A par on the last would have been enough but the precocious Northern Irishman slammed in his fifth birdie in succession to finish on 23-under.
If any was really needed, the win confirmed the 23 year old’s rightful status as the world’s best golfer and a man who will be a major force in the game for years to come.
“Unbelievable,” McIlroy said after a season in which he has won the same money list double on both sides of the Atlantic first achieved by Donald last year, as well as his second Major.
“I saw Justin make a charge – I heard the cheers,” he said, “but to finish like that was great.
“I could not have wished for any better. To back up 2011 with another Major and to be part of an unbelievable story at the Ryder Cup has made it an incredible year. But hopefully I can emulate it or do even better next year!”
He won’t be wanting for share change. By adding the title to his Race to Dubai crown McIlroy earned himself a combined €1,822,520 to set a new record for a single-season earnings with €5,519,117.
Donald (71) finished tied for third with Charl Schwartzel (68) on 18-under while Louis Oosthuizen (69), who just didn’t seem to be able to sink a putt, was alone in fifth place a stroke further back.
Australia’s lone entrant in the 56 man field, Marcus Fraser, didn’t capitalise on his two low opening rounds. Fraser (69, 67, 75, 71) finished on 6-under tied for 40th.2012 DP World Tour Championship Final Leaderboard