Rory McIlroy wins Hong Kong Open

Rory McIlroy
McIlroy is the current world number two

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy won the Hong Kong Open to keep alive his contest with Luke Donald at the top of the European Tour's Race to Dubai.

The US Open champion shot a closing round of 65 to finish on 12 under par, two shots ahead of Gregory Havret.

Peter Hanson was a further shot back, with Ian Poulter tied for fourth.

McIlroy can prevent Donald from topping the European money list if he wins the Dubai World Championship and the world number one finishes 10th or worse.

"One of the goals was to win this tournament to keep myself in with a shout next week," said McIlroy, who is ranked second in the world, one place above England's Lee Westwood.

"It's very dependent on what Luke does because he's got such a big lead but if I can somehow get myself into contention next week, you never know.

"Another little bit of motivation was that I woke up this morning and saw Lee Westwood shoot 62 in Sun City and I thought I really needed to win to stay above him in the world rankings. It was nice to be able to do both."

After topping the US PGA earnings, Donald is bidding to become the first player to claim number one spot on the tours either side of the Atlantic in the same year.

McIlroy dropped off the top of the leaderboard at the end of day three after a level-par round of 70 but was immediately back on the pace on Sunday, birdieing the second and ninth hole to reclaim a share of the lead.

Birdies at the 12th and 15th saw the Northern Irishman assume the lead outright before he spectacularly holed his bunker shot for a birdie on the last to confirm the win.

McIlroy has finished second, second, sixth and first in the last four years at the tournament in Fanling and now has four professional titles to his name.

Poulter, who won the title last year, made five birdies and a bogey in a round of 66, but ultimately found himself with too much to do.

"Disappointing, I came to defend and I've come up shy," said Poulter. "I thought I had a chance. I got off to a very good start, birdies at two and three and a sack full of chances from there on in.

"I got it to nine under and I just flushed it on 15, pitched two yards short of the pin and it's gone through the back of the green. A costly bogey at the wrong time."

Scotland's Richie Ramsay joined Poulter on eight under and was pleased with his week's work.

"It was nearly there," he said. "It wasn't far away. There were a few putts that shaved the edge and that stopped me from getting to 11 or 12 under.

"I was looking for a bit of momentum going into the Race to Dubai and I've found that."