Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Rory tips G-Mac to win the Race

Graeme McDowell (left) and Rory McIlroy jointly fielding questions from the Chinese media ahead of the UBS Hong Kong Open which starts tomorrow
Graeme McDowell (left) and Rory McIlroy jointly fielding questions from the Chinese media ahead of the UBS Hong Kong Open which starts tomorrow

Rory McIlroy is backing pal Graeme McDowell to chase down German Martin Kaymer and win the Race to Dubai money list.

The two Ulstermen are in the field for this week’s UBS Hong Kong Open, with McDowell half a million euros behind leader Kaymer, who is taking this week off ahead of next week’s finale in Dubai.

“Graeme has been playing great, Martin has as well, but I think Graeme has got the edge a little bit,” McIlroy said yesterday.

“He is finishing strong and hopefully he can go and do it.”

McIlroy also says his stint on the US PGA Tour has made him stronger as both a person and a player but is determined to kick-start a return to winning form in Hong Kong.

The Holywood man opted to take out a full US PGA Tour card 12 months ago and went on to claim his first victory on American soil at the Quail Hollow Championship in May.

McIlroy last week announced his intention to focus predominately on the European Tour from next season, however, admitting he missed home too much to continue playing in the States.

But the 21-year-old stressed he has no regrets over his decision to play in the States, confident it will play an important part in his overall development.

“I found out a lot about myself,” said McIlroy.

“I found out that the places that you like to go to has a lot to do with being happy. There is no point playing a tournament that you don't want to be at.

“I am trying to pick and choose events where I am happy in the places I am, that I want to be there and want to give it a go.

McIlroy has yet to win in Hong Kong but has come agonisingly close the past two years, missing out to Lin Wen-tang in 2008 and then Gregory Bourdy in 2009.

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