Dubai, United Arab Emirates – World No. 1 Rory McIlroy birdied the final five holes on Sunday to rally and win the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
McIlroy closed with a 6-under 66 to end at 23-under-par 265. His total matched Lee Westwood's tournament record, which was set in 2009.
Prior to the start of the event, McIlroy had already clinched the season-long Race to Dubai. He won for the second time this season on the European Tour and for the fifth time in his career on the circuit.
"It's unbelievable. I said at the start of the week I wanted to come here and hold two trophies on the 18th green Sunday evening and that's what I've managed to do," McIlroy said. "I didn't get off to the best start, just like the last three days.
"I saw Justin (Rose) making a charge up the leaderboard and heard the cheers. I knew I had to do something special and kick-started it with birdies on 14 and 15. I couldn't have wished for the season to end any better."
Rose fired a new course record 10-under 62 on Sunday to put pressure on McIlroy. Rose drained eight birdies and an eagle to set a new record on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
World No. 2 Luke Donald had at least a piece of the lead after each of the first three rounds, but couldn't keep pace on Sunday. He closed with a 1-under 71 and ended alongside Charl Schwartzel (68) in third place at 18-under-par 270.
Louis Oosthuizen (69) took fifth place at minus-17, while Branden Grace was one stroke further back at 16-under 272 after a closing 68.
Starting five groups ahead of the leaders, it was going to take a magical round from Rose to win the title. He nearly pulled it off.
Five birdies in his first 10 holes moved Rose to 16-under par. In the middle of the back nine, it looked as though he might run away with the crown.
Rose followed a birdie on 13 with a 5-foot eagle putt at 14. He also birdied the 15th to jump to 20-under, but McIlroy managed to chase him down.
McIlroy slid two shots back at 18-under with a 3-putt bogey at the 13th. He atoned for that mistake with a 3-foot birdie putt at 14.
Rose was playing the last at that point, and found the green at the par-5 in two. His eagle effort from nearly 100 feet out stopped on the right lip and he tapped in for a closing birdie to post 21-under.
"That was a lot of fun. I knew I was playing my way into the tournament," Rose stated. "Even though I took the lead, I was trying to tell myself that it wasn't necessarily the lead, I still had to keep playing aggressive."
McIlroy made another short birdie on No. 15, then left himself 25 feet for birdie at 16 and poured that putt in the middle of the cup to join Rose atop the leaderboard.
The PGA champion continued his charge as he drained a 7-footer for birdie at the 17th and finished in style as he rolled in his fifth straight birdie effort at the last to win by two.
"The tee shot on 17, I think that was very important. That's probably a hole you don't think is a birdie chance. It was tough pin today," said McIlroy. "To make '2' there and give myself a cushion there was nice."
Early on, McIlroy was up and down with his round. He opened with a bogey, but came back with birdies at five and seven. After a bogey at the eighth, McIlroy erased that mistake with a birdie on the ninth to make the turn at 18-under. He also birdied the 11th before his dropped shot on No. 13.
NOTES: McIlroy earned 1,041,429 euros for the victory and that helped him set a new single season earnings record. McIlroy finished with 5,519,117 euros, which beat Donald's mark of 5,323,400 from last year ... McIlroy joined Grace as the only five-time winners this year on the major golf tours ... McIlroy tallied 10 top-10 finishes in his 15 tour starts this year ... The 2012-13 European Tour schedule kicks off in two weeks in South Africa with a new event, The Nelson Mandela Championship.