Dubai: Justin Rose and Luke Donald were gracious in defeat after missing out on the DP World Tour Championship to Rory McIlroy by two and five strokes respectively in Dubai on Sunday.
Rose hit a course record 62 to finish on a 21-under-par 267, forcing 18-under-par McIlroy to salvage the tournament with five birdies over the last five holes.
World No. 2 Donald, starting the day tied at the top with McIlroy on a 17-under-par score of 199, picked up only a stroke come the close of day four, to slip to tied for third in the pecking order with Charl Schwartzel.
Rose, who had risen to second with his record 62 from tied for seventh after round three, said of his last round: “I thought it was going to be good to be honest — I knew I was playing my way into the tournament.
“I caught a glimpse of the leaderboard walking to the 18th tee, I saw Rory had gone birdie, birdie and he was putting the squeeze on.
“But I knew that’s what Rory does. If you watched him play Peter Hanson at the BMW Masters in Shanghai, Rory pushed him all the way to the end making late birdies. And I kind of figured the same thing might happen here — every credit to him.”
Donald said of McIlroy: “You’ve got to give him a lot of credit for digging deep. Both of us weren’t feeling 100 per cent physically, but he found the strength to finish like that and hats off to him. What a way to finish off a great year for him.
“Grit and determination once again from Rory. He’s proved he’s the best player in the world and this has capped off an amazing year for him. Congratulations to him. I think he’ll be around for a long time to come, but it’s good he’ll push me to work harder.”
Having entered day four without a bogey over this course in 100 holes, Donald said of his bogeys on three and 12: “It had to happen at some point. All runs come to an end. I just struggled to get any momentum today and felt a little bit flat.
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t get things going and Justin [Rose] obviously put on quite a show in front of us. That nudged Rory enough to get him going.”