Dubai showdown on cards as McIlroy closes in on Donald

NORTHERN Ireland’s Rory McIlroy piled further pressure on European Tour leader Luke Donald and ensured a nailbiting climax to the season by winning the UBS Hong Kong Open yesterday.

McIlroy’s two-shot victory at Fanling means he can deny Donald the honour of becoming the first man to officially top the US and European money lists in the same season at this week’s Dubai World Championship.

To do so he will have to win the lucrative season-ending spectacular in the Middle East and hope that Donald, who ended 10 shots adrift in the Nedbank Golf Challenge yesterday in South Africa, finishes outside the top nine.

“It meant a lot knowing that I had to go out there and play well to keep myself alive in The Race to Dubai, probably to keep second place in the World Rankings. To produce the sort of golf I did today was very pleasing,” said US Open champion McIlroy.

“That was one of the goals going out today, to win this tournament and keep myself in with a shout next week.

“That’s very dependent on what Luke does because he’s got such a big lead. If I can somehow get myself into contention next week, you never know.” McIlroy, 22, chipped in from a greenside bunker at the 18th to card a final-round 65 and finish 12 under par, two clear of Frenchman Gregory Havret.

Sweden’s Peter Hanson was a further shot adrift, while England’s Ian Poulter was one of three players tied for fourth on eight under.

US PGA Tour winner Donald, meanwhile, ended five under par on his return from a five-week break, finishing seventh at Sun City, where fellow Englishman Lee Westwood retained his title at a canter.

Westwood could afford a one-over-par final round of 73 and still finish 15 under, to stay third in the world rankings behind Donald and McIlroy.