World No3 Rory McIlroy saluted his happy knack of rising to the occasion after he won the season-ending DP World Tour Championship yesterday to clinch his third Race To Dubai title in four years.
McIlroy had to overhaul Andy Sullivan on the back nine to claim his second victory at the tournament, carding a 66 to finish on 21 under par and beat the Englishman by just one shot.
In doing so he ended any doubts over his Race To Dubai defence, having started the week with the slimmest of leads over rival Danny Willett, who ended the event tied for fourth, eight shots behind McIlroy.
The Northern Irishman’s fourth title of an injury-hit season banked him £2.1m, taking his 2015 prize money to £7.7m, and owed much to a 30-foot bogey putt that kept him in front after he found water at 17.
“I have a knack of doing things on the 17th green. I holed a big putt at the Ryder Cup last year on 17 to keep a match alive and I holed a couple of big putts this year at the [WGC- Cadillac] Match Play,” he said.
“I think being able to go into the memory bank and draw on those things really helps and I was a little bit lucky I was able to do that again. Putting myself in that position wasn’t what I wanted to do but to be able to get out of that little hole with a putt like that made the difference.
"Andy is a fantastic player, he has all the shots, but he putted fantastically today as well. I needed to produce some of my best stuff to best him and thankfully I was able to do it.”
McIlroy pocketed €1.23m (£862,000) for repeating his 2012 win at the DP World Tour Championship, while his triumph in the Race To Dubai earned him a further $1.88m (£1.23m).
That makes 2015 the third-highest year for prize money in his career, after last season (£10.8m) and 2012 (£9.2m).
England’s Willett, 28, faded with two bogeys in his last three holes but secured second place in the Race To Dubai, ahead of South African Branden Grace, third outright at Jumeirah Golf Estates on 15 under.
Sullivan’s second place ensured he finished the year in Europe’s top 15 – earning him a share of the Race To Dubai bonus pool – as did compatriot Matt Fitzpatrick on his first full season on the tour.