• Singapore Open, Round Four

McIlroy wins Race to Dubai in Singapore

ESPN staff
November 11, 2012 « Fiery Tevez puts the boot into Gary Neville | Chartbeat test »
Rory McIlroy finished strongly in Singapore © PA Photos
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Rory McIlroy produced a dramatic eagle on the final hole at the Singapore Open to secure the Race to Dubai on Sunday.

With Louis Oosthuizen beaten by Matteo Manassero in a play-off at the Sentosa Club, McIlroy needed to finish in outright third to seal the Race to Dubai. The world No. 1 did exactly that by holing a 30-foot eagle putt to finish one stroke ahead of Thomas Bjorn.

McIlroy's achievement sees him match Luke Donald's effort of 2011, winning both the European and US money lists in the same season.

He began the day with nine holes of his third round still to play after a heavily disturbed schedule in Singapore. McIlroy was also five shots adrift of overnight leader Bjorn, who he eventually usurped to snatch third place.

After failing to pick up any more strokes before he started the fourth round, McIlroy found four birdies en route to the 18th and final hole, knowing the title was gone while the wait to clinch the Race to Dubai would surely continue. But, on a hole that he had parred twice earlier in the competition, McIlroy found a monster putt for eagle to crown an exceptional year with a 65.

"It really is hugely satisfying to finally become the European No. 1, especially after finishing second two of the last three years," McIlroy said. "It has always been one of my goals ever since securing my Tour card five years ago, but then to also end the year as both European and PGA Tour No. 1 is just amazing.

"I feel so proud and humbled to join so many fabulous names in Europe who have won the Order of Merit. To be able to accomplish this goal with still two events remaining means that I can head to my UBS Hong Kong Open defence and the DP World Championship Dubai without that added pressure and just really enjoy my golf.

"Winning a second major championship already made it a fabulous season, but then to follow Luke Donald in becoming No. 1 in both Europe and the States is the icing on the cake after a fabulous season.

"I set myself a number of ambitious goals at the start of the year, and to have ticked so many of the boxes feels great. A lot of hard work went into this and I am really proud of what I've achieved in 2012. I've still got two events remaining this year and the goal is still to try and win at least once more before the end of the year. Beyond that I'm looking forward to a good break over the winter!

"My goal is to push on in the new year. Monty (Colin Montgomerie) won eight Order of Merits in his prime and I have won one, so there is plenty of ground to make up. Also Jack Nicklaus won 18 majors and I now have my name on two, so targeting the majors will still be my main focus next season."

Bjorn's third round had cost him a higher finish after he posted a three-over 74, while England's Chris Wood - second overnight - carded a one-over 72 in his final round to fall to seven-under. Compatriot Paul Casey was a further stroke back on six-under.

Manassero and Oosthuizen were comfortably clear of the field, both closing on 13-under to enter a play-off, which went to a third extra hole. Twice the pair matched each other on the 18th, but at the third attempt Manassero clipped a 12-foot putt for eagle to earn his third European Tour title at the age of 19.

Elsewhere, Phil Mickelson improved to five-under on the final day after he signed for a closing 67.

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