McIl­roy in fir­ing line as Rose heads Shang­hai big guns

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

SHANG­HAI: Rory McIl­roy has skipped the BMW Mas­ters start­ing to­day but will still be keep­ing one eye firmly on the scores from Shang­hai know­ing that his sta­tus as Europe’s num­ber one is hang­ing by a thread.

World num­ber six Justin Rose is one of five play­ers who could top­ple McIl­roy from the top spot in the Race to Dubai stand­ings at Lake Malaren, the fi­nal stop be­fore the sea­son-end­ing DP World Tour Cham­pi­onship next week. Sec­ond-placed Danny Wil­lett, af­ter his fourth-round 62 and third place in the $8.5 mil­lion WGC-HSBC Cham­pi­ons across the city last week­end, is just 74,213 points adrift and needs only to fin­ish 28th or higher to over­take McIl­roy at the top of the Race to Dubai stand­ings. Shane Lowry, Louis Oosthuizen, Rose and Bran­den Grace also have the chance to knock four-time ma­jor cham­pion McIl­roy off his perch, with the first three play­ers each need­ing to fin­ish sec­ond or bet­ter to move into the num­ber one spot, while only vic­tory would be good enough for sixth-placed Grace. McIl­roy won the Race to Dubai last year and in 2012 but may find by Sun­day night he needs noth­ing less than a win in Dubai to win his third Harry Var­don tro­phy.

The world num­ber three is de­ter­mined to give him­self ev­ery chance by ar­riv­ing early in the Mid­dle East af­ter skip­ping the sec­ond Shang­hai event this week.

“I’ll get to Dubai next week­end, so I’ll be there a few days early,” McIl­roy told AFP af­ter his fi­nal round 66 at She­shan In­ter­na­tional Golf Club on Sun­day left him in a tie for 11th place in the World Golf Cham­pi­onships event. “I’m just with the mind­set that I need to go to Dubai and win and what­ever hap­pens from there hope it will be enough, that’s all I can do,” said McIl­roy.

Dou­ble hap­pi­ness

Rose is gun­ning for dou­ble glory on Chi­nese soil fol­low­ing his win last month in the Hong Kong Open. He knows vic­tory this week on a course which he plays well-he missed out on a three-man play­off by one stroke here a year ago-and the 1,333,330 points that go with it will put his des­tiny into his own hands. “I’m about 800,000 points be­hind Rory and Danny, so I’m go­ing to have to win one of th­ese last two tour­na­ments,” Rose said be­fore play­ing in Tues­day’s proam.

“I think if I win one of them and play solid in the other then I’m hard to beat. “If I go win-win then I’m un­beat­able, so it’s in my hands, which is the good thing.” Fur­ther down the rank­ings there is an equally in­tense scrap go­ing on to get into the top 60 and qual­ify for the riches on of­fer in Dubai — $8 mil­lion in prize money and a bonus pool of $7.5 mil­lion to be split among the top 15 in the fi­nal Race to Dubai stand­ings.

Trevor Fisher Jnr, in his first full cam­paign on the Euro­pean Tour, is 65th at the mo­ment and needs to fin­ish at least 45th or bet­ter in the 78-man field to se­cure his spot in the sea­son fi­nale.—AFP

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