McIlroy clinches European crown

Rory McIlroy has clinched the European Tour money list crown after finishing third at the Barclays Singapore Open on Sunday.

World number one Rory McIlroy has clinched the European Tour money list crown after finishing third at the Barclays Singapore Open on Sunday.

The Ulsterman, who has already won the PGA Tour title, marched into third place after sinking a 30-foot putt on the final hole to end his round on 65.

This meant that South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen had to win the event to keep the “Race to Dubai” alive, but the former Open champion lost at the third hole of the play-off with Italian teenager Matteo Manassero, who sank an eagle putt of his own to claim his third victory on the circuit.

Manassero and Oostbuizen both finished 72 holes on 13-under par, three shots in front of the world’s top ranked player.

“It has always been one of my goals [to be world number one] ever since securing my Tour card five years ago, but then to also end the year as both European and PGA Tour number one is just amazing,” McIlroy said after his round.

“I feel so proud and humbled to join so many fabulous names in Europe who have won the Order of Merit.

“To be able to accomplish this goal with still two events remaining means that I can head to my UBS Hong Kong Open defence and the DP World Championship Dubai without that added pressure and just really enjoy my golf.

“Winning a second major championship (the USPGA in August by eight shots just like his US Open triumph last season) already made it a fabulous season, but then to follow Luke Donald in becoming number one in both Europe and the States is the icing on the cake after a fabulous season,” he added.

“I set myself a number of ambitious goals at the start of the year, and to have ticked so many of the boxes feels great.

“A lot of hard work went into this and I am really proud of what I’ve achieved in 2012. I would like to give special thanks to the team around me for all the support they have given me throughout the year.

“I’ve still got two events remaining this year and the goal is still to try and win at least once more before the end of the year. Beyond that I’m looking forward to a good break over the winter!

“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.

“Monty (Colin Montgomerie) 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.”