An eagle on the par-5 18th hole in the final round of the Singapore Open was a fitting exclamation mark to Rory McIlroy’s superlative 2012 campaign, which now includes winning the money titles on both the European and PGA Tours.
McIlroy, who matched Luke Donald’s 2011 accomplishment, capped a start-and-stop week in which he battled a cold and three long weather stoppages to record a closing 6-under 65 and a third-place finish at 10-under. At 23, McIlroy became the youngest golfer to top the Euro Tour charts since Sandy Lyle did so in 1979 at age 21, and again a year later.
"I played really well this afternoon,” McIlroy told Reuters after ending up three back of winner Matteo Manassero, who topped runner-up Louis Oosthuizen by canning a 12-foot eagle putt on the third playoff hole. “No bogeys and finished with an eagle on the last. It was very nice.”
Grabbing the gold was just the most recent achievement in a year in which the young Northern Irishman won his second major, earned four victories on the PGA Tour, and played his way into the No. 1 spot in the world rankings. McIlroy claimed that adding the European money award to that of the PGA, which he captured several weeks earlier, was “cheapened a little bit” because his primary opponents did not play this week.
Even so, McIlroy confirmed that, despite a mid-season slump, his overall play merited the recognition.
"It's still an award for consistency and you need to play well throughout the year in all the tournaments you attend,” he said. "I am going to end up playing 13 or 14 events on the European Tour this year. That's obviously a lot less than a lot of other people but I have played in the bigger tournaments with the higher prize funds, which has allowed me to get to the top."
With the dual money titles well in hand, McIlroy hoped to finish 2012 with wins at next week’s Hong Kong Open and the season-ending Dubai World Championships.
"Finishing in the top two or three isn't too bad,” he said, “but I said I wanted to win at least once more before the end of the season and I still have two more tournaments in which to do that."