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November 16, 2009

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Home » Sports » Golf

Bourdy wins as Thongchai claims Merit

FRANCE'S Gregory Bourdy survived a late challenge from rising star Rory McIlroy yesterday to win the Hong Kong Open, securing a berth at the European Tour's year-end championship in Dubai.

The Frenchman made four birdies and a bogey for a three-under 67 in the last round and a 19-under 261 total to clinch his third European Tour title by two strokes. The win also moves him into the top 60 on the money list, qualifying him for Dubai. The US$2.5 million Hong Kong tournament is the final stop before the US$7.5 million Race to Dubai comes to a conclusion next month.

Second place was enough for McIlroy to move to the top of the tour's money list.

McIlroy faltered late on the back nine, narrowly missing out on the Hong Kong title the second consecutive year. He lost a playoff to Chinese Taipei's Lin Wen-tang last year.

Overnight leader Bourdy said he tried to focus on his own score and avoided looking at the leaderboard until the 18th.

"At the start of the round, I wanted to play my game, to stay focussed on my game. I knew if I played minus 3 or minus 4, it was OK to win this tournament," the Frenchman said. "I had a fantastic week."

After making two birdies in the front nine, McIlroy made eagle on the 13th, then back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th to close within one stroke of Bourdy. But he missed a putt at close range on the next hole to drop back two strokes. Disgusted with himself, the 20-year-old from Northern Ireland tossed his ball into the crowd.

McIlroy finished six-under for the day and 17-under overall.

Despite the loss, McIlroy overtook Lee Westwood to lead the money race going into Dubai. Westwood continued to struggle on the greens at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling, shooting a four-over 74 to finish the tournament one-under.

Dutchman Robert-Jan Derksen kept up with Bourdy early on but bogeyed the 15th, finishing in a share of third with Italy's Francesco Molinari at 16-under.

After finishing in a share of 11th place, Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee built up an insurmountable lead to win a record third Asian Tour Order of Merit title with two events left.

Having won the title in 2001 and 2004, Thongchai was crowned Asia's No. 1, fending off closest rival Liang Wenchong of China. Liang needed at least a second-place finish to keep his merit hopes alive this week but finished tied with Thongchai after taking the joint halfway lead.


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