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Golf: McIlroy makes it look easy at Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Rory McIlroy won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic before heading back to the USA. Photos: Getty Images.

Rory McIlroy won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic before heading back to the USA. Photos: Getty Images.

February 1, 2015: Rory McIlroy claimed his first title of 2015 after the Northern Irishman steamrolled his way to victory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic with a composed, clinical display befitting the world’s top-ranked golfer.

 

Leading by four shots entering the final day at the Emirates Golf Club, the 25-year-old was a steady and assured presence through a level-par front nine.

 

While his closest challengers struggled to close the gap, McIlroy’s class began to show on the way home as he birdied two of the back nine’s three par-fives, 10 and 13, to sign for a two-under-par 70, a tournament record-equalling 22-under total and a three-shot victory over Swede Alex Noren.

 

“It wasn’t the best round that I’ve played this year, but I got the job done and that’s the most important thing,” McIlroy said after his 10th European Tour victory.

 

“That was sort of the objective coming to the Middle East, just after the new year. I wanted to get at least one win before heading to the States and getting into the big part of the season, I guess.

 

“It’s great to get that win and coming off a good performance in Abu Dhabi as well, I’ve got some confidence and momentum on my side heading into the next couple of months.”

 

The World No. 1 in full flow during his third-round 66, which gave him a four-shot lead at the start of the final day.

The World No. 1 in full flow during his third-round 66, which gave him a four-shot lead at the start of the final day.

McIlroy said he would take a break following his Middle East swing before resuming competition at the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic, which tees off on February 26.

 

“I’ve done a lot of good work the last few weeks here in the Middle East and I’ve got three weeks off now. I won’t have three weeks of hitting balls, but I’ll have at least a good week of preparation going into the Honda,” he said.

 

“I’ll keep it ticking over. It will be nice to get back to the States and get in my own house and get into a routine and practice and stuff.”

 

McIlroy also said that he had one eye on the Masters Tournament in April, when he will look to continue his Major streak going after wins in The Open Championship and PGA Championship last year. He’s also aiming to complete a career Grand Slam, having won all the Majors apart from the Masters.

 

“I don’t mind that the Masters is still a couple of months away. I feel like I can keep this run of form going and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t. I’m comfortable with my game, I’m happy with how I’m swinging it and it’s just a matter of keeping on top of things, not getting complacent and working hard.”

 

Noren’s return to form continued as he carded a seven-under-par 65 to claim the runner-up spot, his best finish since winning the most recent of his three European Tour victories at the 2011 Nordea Masters.

 

“It was an amazing day and an amazing week. I’ve missed it so much, feeling some pulse and nervousness; it’s really nice,” said Noren, who put aside feelings of victory due to McIlroy’s imperious form.

 

“I never even thought of winning as he’s playing so good, even though today was a slower start from him. I was just trying to get a nice finish in.”

 

Stephen Gallacher – who next heads east to play the Maybank Malaysia Open – maintained his incredible record in the tournament. Despite missing out on a third consecutive win at the event, the Scot carded a closing 69 and a 16 under total to add a third-place finish to his back-to-back wins and runner-up finish in 2012.

 

“It was a good week. I’m delighted with it. Obviously it was tough out there today and tough to chase the World No. 1 from so far back. We were kind of playing for second place, so I’m delighted with my performance,” said Gallacher, who made his Ryder Cup debut last year.

 

“I was way back. You needed to be three or four off the lead to have a chance, so you’re trying to get as low as you can and get up the board. I think for everybody in swirling wind, it’s tough to get it pin‑high. You just have to knuckle down and take your chances.”

 

Morten Ørum Madsen, McIlroy’s nearest competitor after round three, struggled to a triple-bogey on the opening hole and although he staged a brave comeback, it was ultimately a bridge too far for the Dane.

 

Madsen (73) finished in a share of fourth place on 15-under alongside former No. 1 Martin Kaymer (64) of Germany, young Frenchman Gary Stal (68), England’s Andy Sullivan (70) and Austria No. 1 Bernd Wiesberger (70).

 

Lee Westwood (72) of England and Graeme McDowell (70) of Northern Ireland were a shot back in a share of ninth, showing good form ahead of their participation in Malaysia, where Westwood is the defending champion.

 

Omega Dubai Desert Classic (European Tour), Emirates GC, Dubai, UAE

266 R McIlroy (Nir) 66 64 66 70

269 A Noren (Swe) 68 67 69 65

272 S Gallacher (Sco) 66 67 70 69

273 B Wiesberger (Aut) 64 69 70 70, G Stal (Fra) 69 69 67 68, A Sullivan (Eng) 65 68 70 70, M Kaymer (Ger) 67 69 73 64, M Madsen (Den) 71 63 66 73

274 G McDowell (Nir) 67 65 72 70, T Aiken (RSA) 68 71 66 69, R Rock (Eng) 68 67 69 70, L Westwood (Eng) 65 68 69 72

275 P Uihlein (USA) 65 69 70 71, H Stenson (Swe) 70 66 70 69, B An (Kor) 70 70 66 69, R Paratore (Ita) 68 66 70 71, M Warren (Sco) 66 65 73 71, G Bourdy (Fra) 69 71 69 66, D Willett (Eng) 67 66 70 72

276 P Larrazábal (Esp) 69 66 69 72, R Fisher (Eng) 71 68 71 66, G Havret (Fra) 68 71 70 67, E Grillo (Arg) 67 68 69 72, A Quiros (Esp) 73 69 70 64

277 D Howell (Eng) 71 69 69 68, R Green (Aus) 70 68 70 69

278 R Jacquelin (Fra) 71 71 67 69, D Lipsky (USA) 68 71 68 71

279 D Van Der Walt (RSA) 69 73 66 71, P Lawrie (Sco) 69 71 66 73, A Levy (Fra) 72 68 70 69

280 N Colsaerts (Bel) 65 74 67 74, A Hansen (Den) 66 72 71 71, M Kieffer (Ger) 66 68 73 73

281 J Garcia Pinto (Esp) 70 66 72 73, E Espana (Fra) 70 70 70 71, T Jaidee (Tha) 71 68 69 73, A Wall (Eng) 69 70 72 70, S Benson (Eng) 66 66 73 76, G Mulroy (RSA) 69 70 72 70, A Johnston (Eng) 68 72 71 70

282 M Foster (Eng) 73 69 67 73, T Pieters (Bel) 69 69 75 69, F Aguilar (Chi) 70 71 70 71, M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 70 70 71 71, K Broberg (Swe) 69 69 70 74

283 A Cañizares (Esp) 72 69 69 73, Y Yang (Kor) 67 73 71 72, D Brooks (Eng) 69 73 71 70, T Fleetwood (Eng) 72 70 71 70, J Campillo (Esp) 67 70 75 71, J Luiten (Ned) 68 70 70 75

284 M Hoey (Nir) 72 70 71 71, M Carlsson (Swe) 71 71 65 77

285 R Bland (Eng) 71 69 72 73, B Grace (RSA) 73 69 71 72, P Lawrie (Irl) 73 69 73 70, O Farr (Wal) 73 68 72 72, T Hatton (Eng) 71 69 72 73, M Ilonen (Fin) 67 71 74 73, M Lampert (Ger) 71 67 75 72, E Els (RSA) 72 70 72 71

286 H Otto (RSA) 66 73 70 77, T Lewis (Eng) 68 73 70 75, C Doak (Sco) 72 70 73 71, E Molinari (Ita) 70 72 73 71

287 P Waring (Eng) 69 67 72 79, B Dredge (Wal) 71 71 68 77, J Palmer (Eng) 74 68 72 73, W Ormsby (Aus) 69 69 70 79

289 M Baldwin (Eng) 71 71 73 74

290 D Foos (Ger) 71 71 72 76

291 D McGrane (Irl) 71 70 74 76

295 S Jamieson (Sco) 74 68 70 83

** R Ramsay (Sco) 71 70 75 WD

 

Source: European Tour (www.europeantour.com); Editing by SportAsia

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