European Golf Tour
McIlroy roars back, wins to keep Race to Dubai hopes alive



Fanling, Hong Kong (Sports Network) - They say a sleeping giant should not be awaken.

That's exactly what happened on Sunday in Hong Kong, however, when Rory McIlroy -- using some extra sleep -- roared from behind with a five-under 65 to win the Hong Kong Open by two strokes.

"It does mean a lot. I've wanted to win this tournament so badly since 2009," said McIlroy, who finished runner-up that year. "I've had to wait a couple years to get there, but finally to get this trophy in my hands is special and means a lot."

And McIlroy didn't just win -- he finished the tournament by holing a bunker shot on the 18th, resulting in a display of exuberant joy across the 18th green. At 12-under 268, McIlroy kept his Race to Dubai hopes alive, moving into second past Martin Kaymer with a chance to catch Luke Donald next week.

The 22-year-old needed to finish second or better to have a chance to overtake Donald at next week's season-ending Dubai World Championship, and now McIlroy has that opportunity.

"Knowing that I had to play well to keep myself in the Race to Dubai, to keep myself in second place in the world rankings, there was a lot to play for," McIlroy said. "It was very pleasing."

McIlroy, who held part of the lead after the first and second rounds, stumbled to an even-par 70 on Saturday and admitted he wasn't feeling his best after slipping three back. Instead of staying out late that night, McIlroy got nearly 12 hours of sleep and put on a flawless display at Hong Kong Golf Club on Sunday.

It's the third European Tour victory for McIlroy and second win overall of the year after capturing the U.S. Open in grand fashion. He also ran his streak of top-five finishes to five; his last result outside the top five came in August, when an injured wrist saw him finish tied for 64th at the PGA Championship.

"A bit more sleep," McIlroy said of the difference between Saturday and Sunday. "I was feeling -- I still am -- my energy levels aren't as good as I want them to be. I got 12 hours of sleep and went to the gym for a run this morning, and it must have worked because that's the best I hit it all week."

Playing partner Gregory Havret matched McIlroy's 65 to take second at 10-under 270, while overnight co-leader Peter Hanson (70) struggled all afternoon and ended in third at minus-nine.

Last year's champ Ian Poulter (66) shared the lead for a tiny bit on Sunday, but eventually succumbed and shared fourth with Richie Ramsay (66) and Pariya Junhasavasdikul (70) at eight-under.

Alvaro Quiros, who was tied atop the leaderboard with Hanson entering the day, slipped to a three-over 73 and shared seventh with Kiradech Aphibarnrat (66) and Y.E. Yang (71) at minus-seven.

McIlroy had to wait until the 13th hole for his first birdie on Saturday, but, after getting his much-needed rest, started out quickly with a birdie on the second hole to get to eight-under.

He stood only one shot back after an early Quiros bogey, and McIlroy, who missed birdie putts at the seventh and eighth, finally got one to fall at the ninth to tie the leaders at minus-nine.

Quiros' undoing came at the par-three seventh, where he recorded a five. He shot a four-over 39 on the front nine, putting him out of contention by the turn.

Hanson bogeyed the eighth to hand McIlroy the outright lead for the first time all day, but Poulter came out of nowhere with five birdies in his first 14 holes to march all the way to nine-under to share the lead.

It was short-lived, however, as McIlroy birdied the par-five 12th, and Poulter finally slipped with a bogey at the 15th. At the time, four players trailed McIlroy by a stroke, and Hanson got back to 10-under for the second time with a tap-in birdie at No. 12.

Hanson had a good chance to take the lead, but missed an eight-foot eagle putt. It proved crucial, as McIlroy responded with a birdie at No. 14 to move back ahead, and Hanson bogeyed the 14th to fall two back.

Havret had the best chance at the end after an eagle at No. 12 and a birdie at No. 17 left him one stroke down heading to the last. It took him three strokes to get on the green, ending his hopes to take the crown.

It would have been a moot point anyway, as McIlroy ended with the birdie and the style points to win the tournament.

NOTES: McIlroy won 341,723 euros and trails Donald by about 850,000 euros heading into the season finale...McIlroy can top Donald with a win next week and Donald finishing outside the top eight...McIlroy finished with four straight top-five finishes to end the 2009 season...It's McIlroy's first win in a solely European Tour-sanctioned event since 2009...Quiros fell to 2-for-4 when holding the 54-hole lead.

12/04 04:15:55 ET