Lee Westwood produced a flawless course record round of 64 to win the first Dubai World Championship and claim first prize in the inaugural Race to Dubai.
Leading by two shots going into the last day, Westwood played a near perfect final round to finish on a four-round total of 23-under-par, six ahead of his nearest challenger Ross McGowan.
The first place cheque for €830,675 pushed Westwood ahead of Rory McIlroy at the top of the Race to Dubai standings winning him the top bonus pool prize of $1,500,000. He becomes the 18th player to have won the Harry Vardon Trophy (presented to the leading player on the European Tour) on two occasions. He also led the money list in 2000. It’s Westwood’s 32nd victory as a professional and it lifts him to a career-high of fourth on the Official World Golf Ranking.
“I played great all week,” he said. “A 66 and 64 over the weekend will take some beating I think. It means so much to me, without doubt this is the highest point. Hopefully there will be more, maybe a Major in the future. Some of the young players coming through, like Rory McIlroy, put me under a lot of pressure so it will be tough.”
McIlroy ended the week in third spot and finished in second place in the Race to Dubai. The young Northern Irishman held onto Westwood’s coat tails until he finished with three straight bogeys in round three. That gave Westwood a five shot advantage going into the final round and the Englishman never looked threatened as he compiled a fabulous, bogey-free, round.
“I have no complaints. I gave it my best shot and it’s been a great season, but Lee is just in a different class,” said a philosophical McIlroy. “Even if I’d played well I’m not sure I could have got to 23 under.”
Ross McGowan was Westwood’s closest challenger in this tournament. He made five straight birdies from the 12th en-route to a closing 68. Finishing in second place, McGowan climbed to 12th spot in the Race to Dubai guaranteeing him a start in the four Majors in 2010.
Dubai World Championship
Earth Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai
Nov 19-22, purse $5,000,000, par 72
1 Lee Westwood (Eng) 66 69 66 64 265 €830,675
2 Ross McGowan (Eng) 71 66 66 68 271 €553,781
3 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 68 69 69 67 273 €323,963
T4 Padraig Harrington (Ire) 68 69 69 68 274 €224,282
T4 Geoff Ogilvy (Aus) 70 69 68 67 274 €224,282
6 Alexander Noren (Swe) 70 69 67 69 275 €162,094
T7 Sergio Garcia (Esp) 71 67 69 69 276 €139,553
T7 Adam Scott (Aus) 68 73 67 68 276 €139,553
T9 Peter Hanson (Swe) 72 71 66 69 278 €114,633
T9 Miguel Angel Jimenez (Esp) 72 68 69 69 278 €114,633
T9 Ian Poulter (Eng) 71 74 68 65 278 €114,633
Note: Player scores in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only