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Dubai delight for McIlroy
Alex Leach / 26 November 2012
The 23-year-old Northern Irishman — who began his fourth and final round tied with fellow overnight leader Luke Donald on 17-under par — looked to be in trouble initially, with three bogeys undermining four birdies over the first 13 holes.
However, a birdie blitz over the remaining five took the European Tour and US PGA money list winner out to 23 under and two strokes clear of the strong-finishing runner-up Justin Rose. Donald, who carded three birdies and two bogeys for a score of 71 over the last 18 holes, finished tied for third with South African Charl Schwartzel on 18 under.
“I just wanted to finish the season the way I thought it deserved to be finished,” McIlroy said.
“I’ve played so well throughout the year and I didn’t want to just let it tail off timidly. I wanted to come here and finish in style and I was able to do that. Going out today (Sunday), Luke and I were tied for the lead and we both didn’t get off to the greatest of starts.
“Justin then had that incredible back nine, shot 62 and I knew I needed to do something special midway through the back nine. I somehow summoned up the energy from somewhere to make five birdies in the last five holes.
“It’s just a great way to end this tournament, the season and I’m already excited about 2013.”
McIlroy’s victory here put the seal on a sensational 12 months that has seen him claim the world number one ranking from Ryder Cup team-mate Donald, win his second major among five global victories and the Ryder Cup as well.
“Every goal that I set myself at the start of 2012, I’ve achieved this year,” the world number one added. “It doesn’t really get much better than that.
“My targets for 2013 are the same; to be focused on the majors and try to win more of those. I’ve won one in 2011, one in 2012 and it would be nice to keep that run going next year. I’ll just try to keep improving as a player. I feel like I can improve in different areas of the game still.
“That’s the challenge and the fun of practice is trying to get better all the time.” Donald’s charge was seemingly derailed by a sinus problem that left him unable to continue a bogey-free streak of 102 holes here.
“I struggled to get any momentum,” the world number two admitted. “I felt a little bit run down and — unfortunately — I couldn’t get things going.
> 265 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 66-67-66-66
> 267 Justin Rose (ENG) 68-68-69-62,
> 270 Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 68-67-67-68, Luke Donald (ENG) 65-68-66-71
> 271 Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 67-67-68-69
> 273 Branden Grace (RSA) 69-65-70-68, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 68-69-68-68, Henrik Stenson (SWE) 68-68-69-68,
> 274 Sergio Garcia (ESP) 73-64-73-64, Fredrik Andersson-Hed (SWE) 67-69-72-66, Padraig Harrington (IRL) 67-71-68-68, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (ESP) 66-72-68-68, Jamie Donaldson (WAL) 68-68-69-69,
> 275 Scott Jamieson (SCO) 68-69-72-66, Peter Lawrie (IRL) 68-72-67-68,
> 276 Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP) 71-71-69-65, Stephen Gallacher (SCO) 68-70-72-66, Rafael Jacquelin (FRA) 69-67-71-69, Peter Hanson (SWE) 69-67-70-70, Joost Luiten (NED) 69-68-67-72
> 277 Robert Rock (ENG) 72-70-69-66, Jeev Milkha Singh (IND) 71-74-64-68, Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN) 68-72-68-69, Anders Hansen (DEN) 69-70-69-69, Romain Wattel (FRA) 70-68-67-72,
> 278 Ian Poulter (ENG) 72-70-67-69, Soren Kjeldsen (DEN) 72-69-68-69, Chris Wood (ENG) 71-69-70-69, Martin Kaymer (GER) 67-70-72-69, Richie Ramsay (SCO) 67-68-73-70, Danny Willett (ENG) 71-65-70-72, Marc Warren (SCO) 66-67-72-73, George Coetzee (RSA) 71-67-67-73,
> 279 Francesco Molinari (ITA) 72-71-71-65,
> 280 Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) 70-72-72-66, Alejandro Canizares (ESP) 74-68-71, Victor Dubuisson (FRA) 71-69-71,
> 281 _ Alexander Noren (SWE) 70-73-71-67,
> 282 _ Marcus Fraser (AUS) 69-67-75-71, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (ESP) 70-70-70-72,
> 283 _ Matteo Manassero (ITA) 73-68-73-69, Marcelo Siem (GER) 73-65-75-70, Jbe Kruger (RSA) 72-70-70-71, Simon Dyson (ENG) 69-69-73-72, Bernd Wiesberger (AUT) 72-70-68-73, Thomas Aiken (RSA) 70-66-71-76,
> 284 David Drysdale (SCO) 71-74-70-69, Paul Lawrie (SCO) 71-72-70, Lee Westwood (ENG) 67-74-71,
> 286 Richard Sterne (RSA) 74-74-67-71
> 287 Graeme McDowell (NIR) 72-73-73-69, Michael Hoey (NIR) 70-71-71-75
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