Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

McIlroy off course in Race

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy inched a little closer to a hopeful Race to Dubai Number One title but he's now handing his rivals the incentive by electing to travel to the Far East this week to contest the Korean Open.

McIlroy jetted out of Switzerland's Sion Airport yesterday afternoon to Belfast and will fly to the Korean capital of Seoul today.

Lee Westwood, his closest Race to Dubai rival, will be in Cologne for the Mercedes-Benz Championship.

McIlroy produced the lowest round on the final day in Switzerland in carding a sizzling 64 to finish the then clubhouse leader on 12-under par before eventually settling for a share of seventh place and eight strokes behind Sweden's Alexander Noren.

Noren carded a closing-round 66 to win by two strokes with a 20-under-par tally from Welshman and former European Masters winner Bradley Dredge (65).

Noren set up his first Tour win by brilliantly holing a bunker shot at the 15th hole on the Crans-sur-Sierre course for eagle, but only after electing to use a lob-wedge when Dublin caddy Colin Byrne insisted the 27-year-old Swede go with a sand wedge.

“I could see Colin had that look on his face that said: 'Oh no! Here we go again',” said Noren.

Noren's win takes him to the top of the 2010 Ryder Cup qualifying table while McIlroy probably should be in fourth place on his own, instead of tied with Simon Dyson, had it not been for the actions of a photographer on the final tee.

The official photographer had been warned moments earlier by McIlroy's caddy, JP Fitzgerald but it proved fruitless as he caught McIlroy in the middle of his backswing.

McIlroy sliced his ball down the right-side and into trees, and also close to a commemorative plaque marking the spot where in 1993 Seve Ballesteros pulled off a stunning wedge shot that should have earned him victory had it not been for hard-charging Barry Lane.

McIlroy had no option but to chip out before walking off with a bogey in a round that earlier included a first-hole eagle along with eight birdies.

Moneyreagh's newest resident certainly looked in no mood for a long fireside chat as he headed to the scorer's hut with the mishap probably costing McIlroy an additional €28,700 and a share of fifth had he birdied the hole.

“I walked off a little disappointed because I had three bogeys out there so it should have been better,” he said.

“I wanted to birdie the last so much to at least give myself a little bit of a chance but it's just that a photographer clicked his camera a bit too early and that put me off.

“He was annoying me before I teed off and even JP warned him, but it did little good.

“But a 64 is a great score to take into my next event and hopefully I can keep playing like that.”

McIlroy earned a prize cheque for €48,700 that keeps him in third place on the Race to Dubai money list and he is now €89,474 clear of fourth-placed Westwood, who carded a final-round 66 for a seven-under-par tally and a share of 23rd spot.

Paul McGinley produced his best four-round scoring effort in 15 months despite carding a closing-round 71 for a nine-under-par total and a share of 17th.

Graeme McDowell holed a 15-footer for birdie at the last in a 69 that gave him a share of 32nd place.

Ballyclare's Gareth Maybin dropped one spot to 57th on the Race to Dubai money list, signing off for 71 and a one-over par total.

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