x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Rory McIlroy's 'amazing' year goes on after winning Race to Dubai

The Ulsterman's third-place finish at Singapore gives him the money titles on both sides of the Atlantic and the top spot in the Race to Dubai.

Rory McILroy doesn't plan on slowing down as 2012 comes to a close and is hoping to carry momentum into 2013.
Rory McILroy doesn't plan on slowing down as 2012 comes to a close and is hoping to carry momentum into 2013.

SINGAPORE // Rory McIlroy won the Race to Dubai and celebrated an "amazing" feat on Sunday after becoming only the second man to win the money race on both sides of the Atlantic, courtesy of a third-place finish in Singapore.

McIlroy, the world No 1, will play in the DP Tour World Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai from November 22.

Yesterday, he concluded play in Singapore in style, with a 35-foot eagle putt on his last hole, and his unassailable lead in the standings was confirmed when Louis Oosthuizen lost a play-off with Matteo Manassero.

"It really is hugely satisfying to finally become the European No 1, especially after finishing second two of the last three years," McIlroy said. "It has always been one of my goals to become No 1 in Europe ever since securing my tour card five years ago, but then to also end the year as both European and PGA Tour No 1 is just amazing.

"I feel so proud and humbled to join so many fabulous names in Europe who have won the order of merit".

Luke Donald, who won the historic European and PGA Tour double last year, was quick to tweet his congratulations, along with McIlroy's girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, the tennis player, who watched him play in Singapore.

She wrote: "Congrats to my superstar boyfriend @McIlroyRory for grabbing both money titles this year! Unbelievable achievement, what a year!"

The double money championships rounds off a superlative year for McIlroy, 23, who reached world No 1 and won his second major at the PGA Championship.

He leaves Singapore with European season earnings of €3,696,597 (Dh17.3m).

McIlroy said he would not be taking it easy.

He has his ranking to protect, and he has additional targets, such as Colin Montgomerie's eight European merit titles, and even the record of 18 major wins held by Jack Nicklaus.

"I've got a healthy lead in the world rankings, but with so many very good players on both sides of the Atlantic it will not be a time to be resting on my laurels. My goal is to push on in the new year," he said.

"Monty won eight Order of Merits in his prime and I have won one, so there is plenty of ground to make up.

"Also Jack Nicklaus won 18 majors and I now have my name on two, so targeting the majors will still be my main focus next season.

"But to be able to go into 2013 being No 1 on both the European Tour and the PGA Tour is hugely satisfying."

He is expected to play in the Hong Kong Open this week - he is the defending champion - before flying to Dubai.

Manassero, the 19-year-old Italian, also had reason to celebrate when his first play-off ended in victory as he holed a 12-foot eagle putt on the third play-off hole.

It settled a marathon final day for the US$6m (Dh22m) tournament after storm delays earlier in the week meant Manassero had to play 36 holes yesterday in Singapore's tropical heat.

"It's been an extremely long day," he said after the $1m win, the biggest of his career following the 2010 Castello Masters and last year's Malaysian Open.

"The adrenalin kept me going."

Manassero, who in 2010 became the youngest man to make the cut at the US Masters and was crowned the European Tour's youngest-ever winner, is now also the youngest champion in the Singapore Open's 51-year history.

Oosthuizen has won twice this year but he was forced to revisit the disappointment of the Masters play-off in April, when he lost out to Bubba Watson's famous hook shot from the trees.

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