Magical Mcllroy wins Hong Kong Open golfDecember 4th, 2011 - 7:47 pm ICT by IANS
Hong Kong, Dec 4 (IANS) World number two Rory McIlroy finally laid his hands on the UBS Hong Kong Open trophy Sunday, closing with a spectacular five-under-par 65 which included a dramatic closing birdie from the bunker for a two-stroke victory.
The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland started the final round three shots back on a sun-kissed day at the Hong Kong Golf Club but tied for the lead at the turn with two birdies before edging ahead of a packed leaderboard with further birdies on 12, 15 and 18.
Frenchman Gregory Havret, playing alongside McIlroy, settled for second place with also a 65 while Sweden’s Peter Hason took third place after a 70. Asia’s top finisher was Thailand’s Pariya Junhasavasdikul, who shared fourth position with last year’s champion Ian Poulter of England and Scotsman Richie Ramsay, four behind the winner.
It was also a memorable day for Juvic Pagunsan when he made history by becoming the first Filipino to win the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit crown with a 10th place finish which gave him an unassailable lead on the rankings with one event, the Thailand Golf Championship, remaining.
After two runner-up finishes and a sixth place in Hong Kong in the past three years, reigning U.S. Open champion McIlroy, finally achieved his dream of winning theHong Kong Open after an extraordinary final round charge to end the week on 12-under-par 268 and win $458,330.
When he spectacularly holed out from the greenside bunker at the demanding 18th hole, McIlroy broke into a frenzied celebration with his caddie JP Fitzgerald.
“It does mean a lot. I wanted to win this tournament so badly since that play-off in 2008, but finally, to get this trophy in my hands, is very special. It meant a lot to go out there today, knowing that I had to play well to keep myself in The Race to Dubai, probably to keep myself in second place in the World Rankings. There was a lot to play for and to produce the sort of golf that I did today was very pleasing,” said McIlroy, who kept his hopes alive in becoming Europe’s number one.
He strode up the 18th with a one-shot lead but found the greenside trap with his approach. But McIlroy hit an exquisite bunker shot out which found the bottom of the cup and the sent fans wild. “I just hit a perfect bunker shot, and once it landed on the green, it never looked anywhere else and I think you could see how much that meant to me. I think that is the most excited I have maybe ever been on a golf course. It was just incredible to see the ball drop and realise that I had finally won this tournament,” said McIlroy.
A 12-hour sleep and a five kilometer run in the gym in the morning revitalized McIlroy after he had looked completely out of sort in the second and third rounds. With a spring back in his step, the supremely talented Northern Irishman came out fighting with a purpose.
Havret, who also finished second behind McIlroy at the U.S. Open, said an opening bogey proved costly although he fought back with four birdies and one eagle. “The only mistake is probably the first hole where I three-putted. Nothing of absolute beauty because I didn’t win. I had a chance going into the last one behind him but I obviously made a bad drive, and that was for me very hard to make par, but Rory did and managed to make an efficient shot. He seems to like this hole quite a lot, and, yeah, his shot (birdie) was absolutely amazing,” said Havret.
268 - Rory Mcllroy (NIR) 64-69-70-65.
270 - Gregory Havret(FRA) 70-69-66-65.
271 - Peter Hanson (SWE) 68-68-65-70.
272 - Richie Ramsay (SCO) 68-66-72-66, Ian Poulter (ENG) 71-68-67-66, Pariya Junhasawasdikul (THA) 70-65-67-70.
273 - Kiradech Aphibarnrat(THA) 68-69-70-66, Y.E. Yang (KOR) 68-69-65-71, Alvaro Quiros (ESP) 64-69-67-73.
274 - Juvic Pagunsan (PHI) 68-70-68-68.
275 - Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP) 65-70-72-68, Jose Manuel Lara (ESP) 70-70-67-68, Robert-Jan Derksen (NED) 72-68-66-69, Marcu Fraser (AUS) 67-69-69-70.
- Hong Kong Open: Jeev tied sixth; Bhullar, Chowrasia tied 36th - Nov 20, 2010
- Jeev shoots 67, lies fifth at Hong Kong Open - Nov 19, 2010
- British Open leader McIlroy misses Major record by a stroke - Jul 16, 2010
- Gleeson takes lead at Hero Indian Open, Kumar slips to second - Oct 15, 2011
- Kruger wins Avantha Masters golf - Feb 19, 2012
- Luiten wins Iskandar Johor Open golf, Kapur tied 15th - Nov 20, 2011
- Jeev shoots 70, Kapur 71 in Dubai - Feb 10, 2011
- Kapur tied 17th in Abu Dhabi Open golf - Jan 21, 2010
- Kapur best Indian at tied 13th, Manassero wins Malaysian Open - Apr 17, 2011
- Canizares, Whiteford take joint lead at Avantha Masters; Rai tied 4th - Feb 16, 2012
- Hero Indian Open: Glee for Gleeson Chiragh finishes second - Oct 16, 2011
- Augusta Masters 2011: McIlroy gives Schwartzel the green jacket - Apr 11, 2011
- Jeetesh and Jaini lead Indian charge at SAIL Open golf - Mar 24, 2011
- Jeev shoots 67, finishes seventh in Hong Kong - Nov 21, 2010
- Lahiri leads pack at SAIL-SBI Open golf - Feb 23, 2012
Tags: 18th hole, asian tour, birdies, golf championship, golf hong kong, greenside bunker, gregory havret, hason, hong kong golf, hong kong golf club, ian poulter, open champion, open golf, order of merit, pariya, richie ramsay, rory mcilroy, stroke victory, thailand golf, three shots