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November 23, 2009

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Westwood lands Dubai double

LEE Westwood achieved a European Tour double yesterday by winning the season-ending Dubai World Championship and the European Tour money-list title.

An imperious eight-under-par 64 gave him a final 23-under total of 265 and a runaway six-stroke win over fellow Briton Ross McGowan (68) on the Earth Course.

Westwood's rival for the Race to Dubai money-list, Rory McIlroy, who shot a 67 yesterday, was third on 273.

Englishman Westwood picked up 1.77 million euros (US$2.37 million) for his double triumph at the Jumeirah Estates.

McIlroy arrived in the United Arab Emirates leading the money-list but the 20-year-old Northern Irishman was eclipsed by Westwood, who started the week in second position.

"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."

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 No. 1."

China's Liang Wenchong was the highest Asian finisher, firing a final round 70 to finish at 281 for the tournament.

Eye injury

In Miyazaki, Japan, Italy's Edoardo Molinari beat Robert Karlsson in a playoff to win the Dunlop Phoenix tournament yesterday, denying last year's European order of merit winner a first victory since an eye injury wrecked his season.

Karlsson, who missed more than four months with career-threatening retinal problems and failed to qualify for the Dubai Championship, led by a stroke halfway through the final round of the US$2.5 million event.

Overnight leader Molinari made up the deficit over the back nine, however, to finish on 13-under and force a playoff which he won to join Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington and Ian Poulter on the honor roll at the Phoenix Country Club.

Swede Karlsson, 40, will be boosted by his performance in Japan as he heads to Shenzhen, China, this week to defend the World Cup of Golf title with compatriot Henrik Stenson.

Former US Amateur champion Molinari, whose five previous professional wins came on the European Challenge Tour, will again team up with his younger brother Francesco to represent Italy at Mission Hills.

Ireland's Shane Lowry finished tied for third with Japan's Hirofumi Miyase at seven-under 277 after both shot 69 in the final round.


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