WORLD No1 Rory McIlroy was crowned Race to Dubai winner for a second time in three years without even lifting a club yesterday as American Brooks Koepka won the Turkish Airlines Open.
Koepka’s maiden European Tour title ensured McIlroy will take an unassailable lead in the money list into this week’s season finale, the DP World Tour Championship.
Only Welshman Jamie Donaldson, Germany’s Marcel Siem and Spaniard Sergio Garcia stood a chance of overtaking the Northern Irishman, but none achieved the victory in Antalya necessary to stay in the hunt.
Siem went closest, having started the final round just one shot off the lead, but slipped to five off the pace with a closing 71 and finished in a tie for eighth.
England’s Ian Poulter missed a birdie putt at the last hole to force a play-off with Koepka, who stormed to the top of the leaderboard with a 65 to finish on 17 under par.
Swede Henrik Stenson was third on 14 under, while Ryder Cup colleague Lee Westwood was tied with Siem on 12 under. Donaldson finished on eight under, with Garcia a further shot adrift.
Poulter blamed a poor third round for sabotaging his chances of a first individual title for two years but vowed to redeem himself in this week’s money-spinning Dubai showdown.
“The damage was done on Saturday. That, for me, is really disappointing” to have played three great rounds of golf, and just one blip on Saturday, which is a real shame,’ he said.
“So it’s frustrating. Yes, I’m going to be angry. I’ll be angry for a good few days. But that’s fine. I’ll keep myself in my own little room and have a little chat with myself and come out and win next week.”
Unheralded English pair Andy Sullivan and Danny Willett finished in a four-way tie for fourth place alongside Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez and Australian Wade Ormsby.