Lee Westwood claimed victory in the Dubai World Championship on Sunday, hitting a stunning course record 64, to finish 23 under par and win the tournament by six shots from Ross McGowan.
The prize money for winning the Championship, around £740,000, means that Westwood clinches the Race to Dubai Order of Merit title ahead of Rory McIlroy.
The twenty year old Irishman McIlroy will be disapointed having led the Race to Dubai ahead of the tournament by £114,000 from Westwood, but concedes that Westwood’s form in Dubai deserved the win, he said;
“Leading coming in to this week and then finishing third, most times that would have been enough, but Lee was different class and he deserves it,” said McIlroy. He’s been through the highs and the lows. He’s number five in the world and he will climb higher after this. He’s got his reward for the golf he’s played over the last two years.
I knew there was no chance. I was just trying to play for second place. I gave it my best shot. It’s been a great season and I have no complaints. I could have been happier with how it ended, but it’s been a great stepping stone and I’m looking forward to next year (on the US tour).”
Westwood had indeed played some of the finest golf of his career in Dubai, something that he himself acknowledged when he said after claiming the title;
“I’m a bit speechless. I played fantastic at the weekend. I played well at the start of the week, but 66 and 64 will take some catching,” said Westwood. It’s as good as I’ve ever played, especially under this pressure. It gives me so much confidence and it’s definitely the biggest moment of my career.
Every credit to Rory, to be leading the Order of Merit and then finish third you would expect to win, so commiserations to him.”
Westwood added that ending the season as Europe’s number one was more satisfying second time around, claiming that in 2000 when he reached the same position he was too young to appreciate it as his career up until then had only known highs.
When he adds, “Then I went through a low that was well documented and it has been a long way back. This is the best day of my career,”, you know he really does mean it.
A great time to start thinking about a winter ski holiday, a great way to part with some of those winnings!