McIlroy finishes with a flourish to win in Dubai
Updated: Monday, 26 Nov 2012 11:11
Rory McIlroy put the icing on the best year of his golfing life by winning the DP World Tour Championship with five closing birdies in Dubai today.
McIlroy had found himself two behind as Justin Rose put the finishing touches to a dazzling course record 62, the lowest round of his European Tour career by two.
But Northern Ireland's world number one, tied for the lead with second-ranked Luke Donald overnight, was not to be denied.
He chipped close on the long 14th, pitched to three feet at the next, made a 20-foot effort on the 16th and went one ahead with a six-foot putt on the short 17th.
Rose had done miraculously well to two-putt the par five last for birdie from around 100 feet, but McIlroy matched it to win by two. He shot 66 for 23 under.
By adding the title to his European Tour money list crown McIlroy earned himself a combined £1.46million.
Padraig Harrington was tied for ninth on 14 under and Peter Lawrie was a shot further back after both men shot 68s today.
Michael Hoey and Graeme McDowell both ended on one under after shooting 75 and 69 respectively.
It was his fifth victory during a 2012 which included a second major title - like the first by eight shots - and the same money list double on both sides of the Atlantic achieved by Donald last year.
After joining in the water on the last Donald shared third place with South African Charl Schwartzel.
McIlroy said: "I saw Justin make a charge - I heard the cheers - but to finish like that was great.
"I saw Justin make a charge - I heard the cheers - but to finish like that was great" - Rory McIlroy
"I could not have wished for any better. To back up 2011 with another major (like the first by a runaway eight-shot margin) 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 started his burst to the line by chipping to three feet on the long 14th, pitched just as close at the next, then made a 20-foot effort on the following green.
That made him and Rose level and, with the par five 18th, McIlroy was favourite.
But he did not wait until then to go back in front, a five-iron to the difficult 17th - over 200 yards into the wind over water - pulling only six feet from the flag.
It gave him the comfort of being able to lay up on the last and to get down in a pitch-and-putt was only right and proper.
Rose's compensation for second place in both the event and the money list race was not only the £968,000 it brought him.
He is now up to a career-high fourth in the world, knocking Lee Westwood out of the top four for the first time in three years.
The 32-year-old also has the memory of perhaps the putt of the year - even if the 35-footer he sank against Mickelson on the 17th hole at the Ryder Cup wins "Shot of the Year" given the circumstances in which it came.
The one he faced from the back of the 18th green was, in his own words, "probably four Mickelsons, maybe five", but actually estimated at around 100 feet given the amount of break involved.
It looked to be stopping on the top of the ridge, but then trickled down to the side of the hole for the easiest of tap-in birdies.
"I knew it was hero or zero there," said the Englishman. "I was one roll away from looking like an idiot.
"I actually got goosebumps. I thought it was going to go in for a second."
Rose played the last six holes in six under with an eagle on the 14th and four birdies, but it was not enough.
Donald finished joint third with Schwartzel five strokes behind McIlroy, his 71 including bogeys at the third and 12th after he had gone a remarkable 102 holes on the course without dropping a shot.
The day also contained holes-in-one from Stephen Gallacher at the fourth and Joost Luiten at the sixth and when Sergio Garcia eagled the last for the second time in three days it gave him what was then a course record-equalling 64.
Rose has now set a new mark, but McIlroy is the one everyone else must try to catch in the New Year.