McIlroy lets it slip
Rory McIlroy's decision to contest the Korean Open has seen his Race to Dubai money list margin over England's Lee Westwood cut by more than half after the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Cologne.
Westwood remains in fourth place his eighth place result in Germany has seen him knock £41,084.11 off McIlroy's £78,211.91 pre-tournament advantage.
The England player needed to finish fifth or better to overhaul McIlroy but he was more than pleased following a final round 68 for a nine under par tally on the Gut-Larcenhof course.
“I wanted to take advantage while the cats are away and that's what I've done,” said Westwood.
The injured duo of Germany's Martin Kaymer and England's Paul Casey remain in the Race to Dubai lead while South African James Kingston made the biggest leap forward following his play-off victory.
McIlroy will return home later today having let slip a second victory this season in finishing third behind 23-year-old Korean Sang Moon Bae, who successfully defended his title after carding a final-round 72 on the Jeung Hills Golf Club course in Seoul. Bae carded a closing round four-under-par 67 to win by a stroke at 10-under par.
McIlroy went into the last day sharing the lead but had no real answer to Bae after dropping shots at the 11th and 14th holes to finish four off the winning pace.
"It just wasn't to be today," said McIlroy. "I really had a good chance to win but nothing happened for me on the back nine and Bae just played great. Well done to him."
McIlroy had led last year's Omega European Masters by four strokes but then lost out to Frenchman Jeff Lucquin in a play-off. Danny Lee's first visit to the land of his birth in nine years ended with the New Zealander posting a 74 to finish at three-over par and three more than Japan sensation Ryo Ishikawa, who last week was selected to compete in the upcoming Presidents Cup.
Backi in Cologne and Kingston (69) and Denmark's Anders Hansen (67) ended regulation play tied at 13-under before the 43-year old Springbok captured a second Tour win with a par at the first extra hole.
The Ulster duo of Graeme McDowell (70) and Darren Clarke (72) finished the best of the Irish on six under par.
Ballyclare's Gareth Maybin holed a superb bunker shot to a very tight pin at the 13th for eagle en route to a 68 and a four under total.
Paul McGinley, looking to end a four-year winless drought, stalled with just one birdie over his opening 10 holes before back-to-back bogeys.
He then eagled the 13th hole but gave the shots back when he doubled the 17th on route to a three under par tally for a share of 34th place.
Shane Lowry carded a 71 to finish on two over par and two strokes fewer than Damien McGrane who signed off for a 72.
Meanwhile, a total of 37 Irish players, headed by former Tour player David Higgins, will tee-up from tomorrow in the opening stage of qualifying for the 2010 Race to Dubai Tour.
Some 277 players will tee-up this week in the first part of Stage One qualifying while Higgins is among 476 competing also at four courses in the second part next Tuesday week.