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McIlroy strolls to three-shot Dubai Desert Classic victory
Rory McIlroy stormed to a three-shot victory at the Dubai Desert Classic in a game where challenges for first place were scarce and he never looked to be in any serious danger on the final day in the Emirates.
The Northern Irishman carried a four-shot overnight lead into the final round and didn’t need to repeat his first three days’ brilliance as a two-under 70 left him on 22 under.
The closest challenger to McIlroy was Morten Orum Madsen, whose overnight chase quickly fizzled on the last day following a triple-bogey at the first, allowing Sweden’s Alex Noren to snatch second place.
Current holder Stephen Gallacher crossed the line in third place, six shots behind McIlroy.
This victory marks four wins and three runner-up finishes in his last seven European Tour events, and the 25-year was all smiles following the game.
"I played a solid round of golf and did what I needed to do to keep my nose in front," McIlroy is quoted as saying on BBC Sport.
"I felt like I was a little bit tentative over the first few holes but I guess we've seen what can happen to big leads these last few weeks with Martin (Kaymer) and Charl (Schwartzel) in Abu Dhabi and South Africa. I was conscious of that and making sure I didn't make any mistakes."
McIlroy was in total control here and perhaps recalled his 2009 triumph at the Dubai event, which was also his first professional victory, as further inspiration for the rout.
He birdies the third and despite carding only his second bogey of the tournament at the seventh, remained in form control at the turn.
Lee Westwood tried hard to gain purchase of first place as he moved to within four shots of McIlroy after three early birdies, but the Englishman’s challenge was ended by a bogey at the sixth and a further double bogey at the ninth.
It was all in a day’s work for McIlroy as he led by five after producing routine birdie-fours at the 10th and 13th and despite Noren’s final day surge, the World No.1 never looked like losing the lead.
A wonderful 10-foot par-putt at the penultimate hole kept him three ahead and he avoided any mishaps at the last.
Kaymer was 13 adrift of McIlroy after the third round but moved up the field as a closing 65 left him sharing fourth with Sullivan, Dane Madsen and recent Abu Dhabi Championship winner Stal.
Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell (70) had to settle for eighth spot with England’s Robert Rock after both men closed their rounds with 70.
What’s in Rory McIlroy’s Bag?
Here’s a selection of equipment Rory McIlroy used to win the Dubai Desert Classic: