Dubai: Rory McIlroy saw off a record surge from Justin Rose to win the 2012 DP World Tour Championship by two strokes on Sunday with an overall score of 23-under-par 265 on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
It set the seal on a perfect season for the Northern Irishman, who had already won the money lists on either side of the Atlantic, the World No 1 spot and his second Major, the US PGA Championship.
Rose had struck a course record 62, with eight birdies and an eagle on the 14th, taking him to 21-under par at the top of the leaderboard having risen from tied for seventh after round three.
It forced joint overnight leader McIlroy — on 18-under par after three bogeys and four birdies — to make up four strokes from the last five holes to win. He managed to birdie all five to card a 66.
Luke Donald, the other joint overnight leader, gained only one more stroke from his first three rounds with a 71 after two bogeys and three birdies. This left him third, three shots off second-placed Rose.
McIlroy’s triumph was his fifth European Tour event victory in 155th tournament appearances. With this win he set a new record for single-season earnings with just over €5.5 million (Dh26.2 million). He’s now finished in the top ten places in ten of his 15 tournaments on the European Tour this season.
McIlroy said: “It’s unbelievable. I said at the start of the year I wanted to come here and hold two trophies on the 18th green come Sunday evening and that’s what I’ve managed to do.
“I didn’t get off to the best start today, just like the previous three days. As well as that, I saw Justin [Rose] making a charge up the leaderboard and I heard a cheer and presumed he had got to 21-under on the last.
“I knew I had to do something special and kick-started it all with a couple of good birdies on 14 and 15 as well as on 16 and 17. That gave me a little bit of a cushion heading up to the last.”
He added: “I couldn’t have wished for any better end to the year. Especially backing up 2011 after winning a Major [the US Open] to win another this year [the US PGA Championship] and to be part of an unbelievable story at the Ryder Cup [McIlroy was part of the Europe team which beat the USA away from home].
“Finishing off the season like this, it’s been an incredible year and hopefully I can emulate or even surpass it next year.
“I’m very pleased with myself. I could have come into the week complacent, thinking I’ve already wrapped up the Race to Dubai. But I wanted to end the season in style.”
Asked what he’d be doing with what are now his old clubs, following a $250 million switch from Titleist to Nike next season, McIlroy joked: “I may just keep them as a memento. I’ve got a few weeks to get into some new equipment. Even though 2012 has literally just ended, I’m excited for 2013 already.”