Lee Westwood achieved a European Tour double on Sunday by winning the season-ending Dubai World Championship and the overall money-list title.
LEE WESTWOOD Picture © Getty Images
An imperious eight-under-par 64 earned a final 23-under total of 265 and a runaway six-stroke win over fellow Briton Ross McGowan (68).
Westwood’s rival for the Race to Dubai money-list, Rory McIlroy of Britain, was third on 273 after a 67.
Englishman Westwood picked up 1.77 million euros ($2.37 million) for his double triumph.
“The way I played today under this much pressure and the circumstances of it all was about as good as I’ve ever played,” Westwood told reporters after a flawless eight-birdie round.
“It’s easily the biggest moment in my golfing career so far. I knew what I had to do and to go out and shoot 66-64 at the weekend, making no bogeys, gives me a lot of confidence for the future.
“My commiserations go out to Rory.”
McIlroy arrived here leading the money-list but the 20-year-old Northern Irishman was eclipsed by Westwood, who started the week in second position.
A dejected McIlroy said: “Every time I looked up at the leaderboard Lee was making birdies.
“He played unbelievable golf and fair play to him. Lee’s different class and he deserves to be number one.”
It was Westwood’s second money-list crown after he also finished European number one in 2000.
He threw down the gauntlet to McIlroy with five birdies in six holes from the second.
The pick of those was a 35-footer down the hill on the third as Westwood turned on an impeccable display, particularly with the putter.
By contrast McIlroy could only par the first eight holes, his frustration showing when he smashed a hole in an advertising hoarding at the seventh after his ball had bounced into wood chippings.
The incident seemed to galvanise the youngster as he rattled off six birdies in nine holes to the 17th.
Westwood proved unassailable though, even to the dogged McGowan who collected five successive birdies on the back nine before wilting with two closing bogeys.
The Ryder Cup stalwart became the first player to win the tour’s end-of-season finale and money-list title since Colin Montgomerie in 1993.
Having slumped to 246th in the world in 2002, Westwood will now climb to fourth in the rankings.
Westwood put his resurgence down to better fitness, an improved short-game and taking on Europe’s best caddie in fellow Englishman Billy Foster.
A near-miss at this year’s British Open, when he missed out on a playoff by one stroke, also helped.
“Turnberry felt like a championship I should have won,” said Westwood. “But you’ve got to turn a third place in a major into a positive.
“Today I felt similar pressure. It means a lot to say I’m European number one again and I gain an incredible amount of confidence from it.
“When April and the U.S. Masters comes around next year I won’t have forgotten this, it will be crystal clear.”