Westwood clinches No1 spot in Dubai

ENGLAND&rsquo;S Lee Westwood celebrated the best performance of his career after victory at the Dubai World Championship saw him crowned Europe&rsquo;s top player for the second time.<br /><br />Westwood shot a course-record 64 to end the tournament 23 under par, a massive six shots ahead of his closest challenger, compatriot Ross McGowan.<br /><br />The triumph earned the 36-year-old a &pound;750,000 first prize, as well as almost &pound;900,000 for topping the European Tour&rsquo;s inaugural Race to Dubai.<br /><br />And Westwood, who came into the tournament trailing Northern Irish youngster Rory McIlroy, shed tears of elation after sealing his double win.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m a bit speechless really. In all fairness I think that&rsquo;s about as good as I&rsquo;ve ever played under this pressure,&rdquo; said Westwood, who won a record &pound;3.8m in 2009 and celebrated his winning putt with an arms-aloft salute &ndash; a tribute to his friend, England cricket star Andrew Flintoff.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s definitely the biggest moment of my golfing life to date. I knew that before I set out and it gives me a lot of confidence that I was able to hold myself together &ndash; until now.&rdquo;<br /><br />It was Westwood&rsquo;s second Order of Merit triumph, having landed the prize in 2000. On that occasion he had to overhaul Darren Clarke, and this time it was 20-year-old McIlroy, who had stayed in touch with Westwood all weekend only to be blown away on the final day.<br /><br />McIlroy, bidding to be the youngest European No1 since Seve Ballesteros 33 years ago, carded a 67 to finish third, eight shots behind Westwood. <br />The Ulsterman vented his frustration by lodging his club into an advertising hoarding as the Race to Dubai title slipped away.<br /><br />But, perhaps mollified after trousering a &pound;960,000 cheque for tournament and tour prize money, he generously praised Westwood.<br /><br />&ldquo;Lee deserves it. It&rsquo;s an unbelievable amount of money but that&rsquo;s not why I was playing today. I was trying to win,&rdquo; McIlroy said.<br /><br />&ldquo;I have no complaints. I gave it my best shot and it&rsquo;s been a great season, but Lee is just in a different class. <br /><br />&ldquo;Most times coming here leading and then finishing third would be good enough, but even if I&rsquo;d played well I&rsquo;m not sure I could have got to 23 under.&rdquo;