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Destination Dubai: Luke-Rory showdown looms

Rory McIlroy
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With his win in the UBS Hong Kong Open on Sunday, Rory McIlroy is No. 2 on a pair of golf's important ladders.

A bogey-free final round 65 boosted the U.S. Open champion to second on the European Tour's Order of Merit (money list). 

“It meant a lot knowing that I had to go out there and play well to keep myself alive in the Race to Dubai, probably to keep second place in the world rankings. To produce the sort of golf I did today was very pleasing,' McIlroy said. “That was one of the goals going out today, was to win this tournament to keep myself in with a shout next week.'

World No. 1 Luke Donald, who played in the Nedbank Golf Challenge this weekend, now leads McIlroy by $1,058,711. The winner's check at the 60-man, season-ending Dubai World Championship next week is $1.25 million. 

For McIlroy to win the money title, he will have to win and Donald would have to finish worse than ninth. Donald finished T-9 last year. McIlroy has finished fifth and third in the two previous Dubai World Championships.

Serving as further motivation, the Hong Kong win allowed McIlroy to remain at No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. With Lee Westwood successfully defending his Sun City title in the dozen-man event, anything less than a win would have dropped McIlroy to No. 3.

“Another little bit of motivation was I woke up this morning and saw Lee Westwood shoot 62 in Sun City, and I thought I really needed to win to stay above him in the world rankings, and there you go,' he said. 'It was nice to be able to do both.'