| 12.4°C Belfast

Rory McIlroy sits back and enjoys £800,000 Race win bonus


Open glory: Rory McIlroy pictured after his brilliant Open win that helped him towards Race To Dubai money list win

Open glory: Rory McIlroy pictured after his brilliant Open win that helped him towards Race To Dubai money list win

Open glory: Rory McIlroy pictured after his brilliant Open win that helped him towards Race To Dubai money list win

Rory McIlroy capped the best season of his career by adding the European Tour's Race to Dubai title to his two major victories in 2014 s yesterday - and he didn't even have to lift a club.

With 2014 earnings of £5.2million, the 25-year-old Holywood star, who sat out the Turkish Airlines Open, knew the money-list crown, and an extra £800,000, would be his providing Spain's Sergio Garcia, German Marcel Siem and Jamie Donaldson of Wales failed to win that event.

All three had needed to win in Turkey and at next week's DP World Tour Championship to have a chance of overtaking McIlroy on the money list and although Siem started the final round just one shot off the lead, the BMW Masters winner could only card a closing 71 to finish joint eighth, with Donaldson 19th and Garcia 25th.

"To win the Race to Dubai for the second time really is something truly special," McIlroy said after victory in Turkey went to the American Brooks Koepka.

"That four-week spell over the summer, from The Open to the US PGA Championship, would have to be the best golf of my life so I feel like I've really earned the Race to Dubai.

"Winning it for the first time two years ago was a fantastic feeling, but I feel like I'm now a more complete player and my all-round game has moved to another level.

"I've put in a lot of hard work this season, with my game and my fitness, so it's nice to get the rewards at the end of it."

McIlroy, who also won the tour's flagship event - the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth - and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio this year, said he would still go all out to capture this week's DP World Tour Championship title in Dubai.

"In some ways the pressure is off now, but I'll fight very hard to end the year on a high with another victory," he added.

"Finishing with five birdies to win the championship in 2012 is right up there with my best performances on the European Tour, so every time I go back it always brings back some happy memories.

"It's a great tournament to finish the season with and if I can notch up another win it really will complete an amazing year.

"I'm looking forward to getting back out on the golf course and feeling that competitive edge again."

McIlroy, who was one of the first players to congratulate Koepka on Twitter, did not play in any of the first three Final Series events as he prepares for an upcoming court case against a former management company.

But the world number one had already done enough with his four victories this season to be crowned European number one for the second time.

Koepka was left pinching himself after outplaying a world-class field to land the Turkish crown.

The 24-year-old, who shot a closing seven-under-par 65 for a 17-under total of 271, eclipsed the likes of Ian Poulter, Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood to claim the first prize of €930,000 (£743,000) at the European Tour's penultimate event of the season.

However, joy for Koepka spelt heartache for Poulter as he finished one stroke adrift in second place after missing a five-foot birdie putt at the last which would have forced a play-off.

The 38-year-old Englishman has had a wretched season with niggling injuries but he took solace at achieving his second top-10 finish in successive weeks after having also tied for sixth at the WGC-HSBC Champions Tournament in Shanghai.

Belfast Telegraph