Bullish McIlroy now man to catch

Only three players can stop Rory McIlroy completing his meteoric rise to European number in Dubai this week.

Only three players can stop Rory McIlroy completing his meteoric rise to European number one after the Holywood ace claimed a battling second at yesterday’s UBS Hong Kong Open.
The 20-year-old moved top of the season-long money list, the Race to Dubai, by leapfrogging Lee Westwood after claiming a runner-up finish at Fanling for a second consecutive year as Frenchman Gregory Bourdy claimed the title by two shots.
And with just this week’s new season-ending Dubai World Championship remaining, only Westwood, Martin Kaymer, and Ross Fisher can mathematically deny McIlroy a maiden Order of Merit title in just his second full season.
Fifth-placed Paul Casey has ruled himself out of the lucrative showpiece due to injury, while Geoff Ogilvy is also out of the running after a low-key display at last week’s JBWere Masters in Australia.
“I am the man to beat, and that’s the way I wanted it going to Dubai,” said McIlroy following his final round six-under-par 64.
“I knew if I put in a good performance there was a good chance. I am number one heading in and in pole position.”
After in-form Portugal Masters champion Westwood finished well down the leaderboard in Hong Kong following a testing week particularly on the greens, McIlroy leads by 128,172 euros.
A win for either Westwood, McIlroy or Kaymer on the new Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai on Sunday would secure an unassailable lead at the top of the money list, while a victory for Volvo World Match Play Championship winner Fisher would still leave McIlroy and Westwood in contention with highly-placed finishes.
“It’s in my hands regardless,” said upbeat 2000 Order of Merit winner Westwood. “The difference between first and second next week is more than the difference, so if I win next week, I win the money list.
“That’s what I set out at the start of the last few weeks, to make sure I was within the difference between first and second.”
Race to Dubai listings after the UBS Hong Kong Open (Prize money in Euros):
1 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 2538449.00
2 Lee Westwood (Eng) 2410277.00
3 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 2332544.00
4 Ross Fisher (Eng) 2105047.00
5 Paul Casey (Eng) 2014063.00
6 Geoff Ogilvy (Aus) 1679489.00
7 Oliver Wilson (Eng) 1668252.00
8 Simon Dyson (Eng) 1525157.00
9 Ian Poulter (Eng) 1434554.00
10 Ernie Els (Rsa) 1375704.00
11 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 1339645.00
12 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 1327863.00
13 Sergio Garcia (Spa) 1321872.00
14 Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (Spa) 1175979.00
15 Peter Hanson (Swe) 1173801.00
16 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 1134650.00
17 Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 1128073.00
18 Padraig Harrington (Irl) 1119349.00
19 Soren Hansen (Den) 1095307.00
20 Alvaro Quiros (Spa) 1093060.00