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McIlroy wins battle of nerves

Dubai: World No. 1 Rory McIlroy picked up $2.33 million worth of desert treasure after repelling a record-breaking charge from Ryder Cup teammate Justin Rose to win the DP World Tour Championship, on Sunday.

Rose almost spiked the guns of the Northern Irishman, who shared the overnight lead with Luke Donald, when he carved two shots off the previous Earth course record with a breathtaking 10-under final round of 62 containing eight birdies and an eagle.

The Englishman set his target early but US PGA winner McIlroy finished with the flourish of a true champion, birdying the last five holes to clinch victory by two strokes with a closing 66 and a 23-under tally of 265.

“I just wanted to finish the season the way I think it deserved to be finished,” McIlroy said after winning for the fifth time in 2012. “I didn’t want the year to just tail off, I wanted to end it in real style. On the back nine I knew I needed to pull out something special and I somehow summoned up the energy from somewhere to finish with five birdies in the last five holes.”

Donald (71) was tied third on 270 with South African Charl Schwartzel (68) in the final event of the European Tour season.

Jeev Milkha Singh rounded off a mixed week with a four-under 68 that saw him finish at tied 21st spot.

Jeev started with a bogey and then had four birdies on second, fifth, eighth and ninth and tenth at which point he was four-under for the day. Then the birdies did not fall and he had pars for the next six holes before a bogey on 17th spoilt the day, but he quickly ended the Tour season with a birdie and a 68.

He then rushed back home to meet his mother, who is in hospital following a fall on Friday. The 23-year-old McIlroy, who started the final round with a bogey five at the first, collected $1.33 million for landing the trophy and an additional $1 million from the tour’s bonus prize pool.

“It means a lot to me to win here in this fashion,” said the 2011 U.S. Open winner who was cheered on by girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, the former world No. 1 tennis player.

“I guess in a way Justin gave me the opportunity to win it in the way that I did.

“Seeing a target there and shooting at it definitely makes you get more focused. This is a great tournament and this is a great way to end the European Tour season,” added McIlroy.

“I’m over the moon. There are so many strong players on the tour and there will continue to be a lot of strong players coming through on this tour,” added McIlroy who complained of feeling unwell in the middle of the event.

The billboards in the city called the tournament ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’ and McIlroy and Rose did their best to live up to the billing with a red-hot exhibition of low-scoring on another sun-kissed day in the Emirate.

Joost Luiten (276) and Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher (276) also recorded hole-in-ones while Sergio Garcia shot his second 64 of the week to finish tied for ninth on 274 in his first outing since the Ryder Cup.

(Reuters)