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Rory McIlroy wins Race to Dubai as Stenson lifts title

By Phil Casey

Rory McIlroy had to settle for a share of second place - but still won the Race to Dubai - after a thrilling finish to the DP World Tour Championship, Sweden's Henrik Stenson successfully defending a title for the first time.

Stenson carded a closing 70 at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai to finish 16 under par, two shots ahead of world number one McIlroy and Ryder Cup team-mates Justin Rose and Victor Dubuisson.

Offaly's Shane Lowry finished a shot further back in fifth to move into the top 50 in the world and all-but secure a Masters debut next April.

The victory was worth more than £1.3m to Stenson thanks to the first prize of £830,000 and a bonus of £510,000 for maintaining second place in the Race to Dubai behind McIlroy - although even that paled into insignificance compared to the £7.3m he banked last year for becoming the first man to win the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai in the same season.

It also took him second in the world rankings, but the 38-year-old said: "It would be nice to have been ranked the world's best at some point, but if I had the choice I would go for a (first) major championship so I am going to try and be in good shape for them next year."

"It feels great," added Stenson, who finished in style with a birdie on the 18th. "I'm exhausted to say the least. It was hot out there. I did not play my best.

"I had a couple of close calls this year to get my win and it was not to be. It's been close but eventually you get something if you stick around and I surely did that."

Ulsterman McIlroy failed to take advantage of a lucky break on the 18th when his tee shot hit a rock in the creek which runs through the middle of the fairway and bounced to safety, but the 25-year-old was philosophical about his performance.

"I would never expect 14 under to have a remote chance of winning the tournament," McIlroy said.

"It seemed like no-one took it by the scruff of the neck and I thought if I could post 16 under I might have a chance.

"I just did not play well enough to win this week but that's a real positive, not just for next year but the rest of my career. In seasons gone by a bad week would have been middle of the pack or battling to make the cut."

Speaking about breaking into the world's top 50, Lowry said: "It was one of the goals for me playing these last four tournaments."

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