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McIlroy hits back to beat Westwood

Rory McIlroy pulled off a remarkable win over Lee Westwood in Tucson today and was left needing to beat American Hunter Mahan to become world number one for the first time.

The two European stars met in the semi-finals of the Accenture Match Play Championship and Westwood, also with the chance to dethrone Luke Donald at the top of the rankings, went three-up after only four holes.

In 60 previous games during the week only two players had come back from such a deficit to go through, but McIlroy became the third with a thrilling display.

Westwood opened the door by bogeying the fifth and asking McIlroy to hole from two feet for par there appeared to fire Northern Ireland's US Open champion into action.

He birdied three of the next four to turn one up and then had three more birdies in a row from the 11th.

Westwood was able to match only the first of them, so found himself three down. He then produced an 18-foot eagle putt after driving the green on the 343-yard 15th, but missed from similar range at the next and conceded defeat after bogeying the 17th.

Mahan, meanwhile, beat compatriot Mark Wilson 2&1 in a game overshadowed by the clash between the second and third seeds, also stablemates until McIlroy made what Westwood called a "bizarre decision" to leave in October.

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