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Lee Westwood wins Race to Dubai title

FINAL LEADERBOARD:
-23 L Westwood (Eng) -17 R McGowan (Eng), -15 R McIlroy (NI) -14 G Ogilvy (Aus), P Harrington (Ire) -13 A Noren (Swe) -12 S Garcia (Spa), A Scott (Aus)
Selected others: -10 I Poulter (Eng) -7 B Dredge (Wal), R Goosen (SA), O Wilson -2 L Donald -1 R Fisher (Eng)

Lee Westwood
Westwood was in imperious form as he claimed victory in Dubai

Lee Westwood claimed an emphatic victory in the Dubai World Championship on Sunday to end the season as Europe's number one for the second time.

Westwood shot a course record 64 to finish on 23 under par and win by six shots from Ross McGowan.

The winner's prize of almost £740,000 saw Westwood, who won the Order of Merit title back in 2000, clinch the Race to Dubai ahead of Rory McIlroy.

McGowan closed with a 68 while McIlroy had a 67 to finish third.

Overnight leader Westwood started the final round two shots clear of McGowan with McIlroy, who led Westwood by £114,000 in the Race to Dubai standings going into the tournament, five off the pace in third.

But the Englishman seized total control with five birdies in the first seven holes and went to the turn in only 31 strokes as he opened up a six-shot lead.

He added three more birdies on the back nine as he unleashed a series of brilliant shots in an error-free round and by the time he rolled in his par putt on the 18th he had known for some time the tournament was his.

"I'm a bit speechless. I played fantastic at the weekend. I played well at the start of the week, but 66 and 64 will take some catching," said Westwood.

"It's as good as I've ever played, especially under this pressure. It gives me so much confidence and it's definitely the biggest moment of my career.

"Every credit to Rory, to be leading the Order of Merit and then finish third you would expect to win, so commiserations to him."

Westwood said that ending the season as Europe's number one gave him greater satisfaction than when he achieved the feat in 2000.

"Back then I was young and didn't know what it was about, I'd only really ever had highs," he said.

"Then I went through a low that was well documented and it has been a long way back. This is the best day of my career."

McIlroy, still only 20, hit form on the back nine with an array of fine strokes, including a sublime bunker shot to within a couple of inches of the hole on the 16th.

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But he stumbled on the last with a loose second shot and a bogey six meant he carded a 67 to finish on 15 under.

"Leading coming in to this week and then finishing third, most times that would have been enough, but Lee was different class and he deserves it," said McIlroy.

"He's been through the highs and the lows. He's number five in the world and he will climb higher after this. He's got his reward for the golf he's played over the last two years.

"I knew there was no chance (of catching Westwood). I was just trying to play for second place.

"I gave it my best shot. It's been a great season and I have no complaints. I could have been happier with how it ended, but it's been a great stepping stone and I'm looking forward to next year (on the US tour)."

Runner-up McGowan had four birdies in a row on the back nine to offer brave resistance, and although bogies on 17 and 18 saw him finish in anti-climactic fashion, it could not spoil a superb tournament for the 27-year-old Englishman.

Padraig Harrington narrowly failed to birdie the 18th, which would have seen him claim a share of third, and his 68 saw him finish alongside Australia's Geoff Ogilvy on 14 under for the tournament.



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see also
Westwood closes in on Dubai win
21 Nov 09 |  Golf
Westwood snatches lead in Dubai
20 Nov 09 |  Golf
Westwood leads McIlroy in Dubai
19 Nov 09 |  Golf
Star trio set for Dubai shoot-out
18 Nov 09 |  Golf
McIlroy upbeat ahead of title bid
16 Nov 09 |  Golf
McIlroy into third in Hong Kong
14 Nov 09 |  Golf
Westwood chips in on 606
11 Nov 09 |  Golf


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