World No. 2 Rory McIlroy sealed the US$2.75 million UBS Hong Kong Open yesterday by holing a birdie chip from a bunker on the last, keeping alive his slim hopes of denying Luke Donald an historic Order of Merit double.
A final-round 65 clinched a two-stroke victory for the Northern Irishman and the winner’s check of US$458,330 means the US Open champion still has a chance of overtaking current Race to Dubai leader Donald with victory at the season-ending Dubai World Championship this week.
McIlroy has collected 3,066,605 euros (US$4.1 million) for the season to world No. 1 Donald’s 3,856,394 euros. The event in Dubai is worth just over 930,000 euros to the winner. Englishman Donald, who has already won the US PGA Tour money list, skipped the Hong Kong event as did Germany’s Martin Kaymer, who had been placed second in the Race to Dubai until McIlroy’s heroics today.
The 22-year-old McIlroy had started the final round three strokes behind overnight leader Alvaro Quiros of Spain, but five birdies over the course, three coming while the pressure was building in the run-in to the clubhouse, ensured victory for a player who had finished runner-up here in both 2008 and 2009.
After finding the sand next to the 18th green with his approach shot, McIlory blasted up, out and into the hole to thunderous applause, while pumping his fists in celebration.
McIlroy had certainly been looking fragile over the first three days of this event — which is co-sanctioned by both the European and Asian Tours — but his stamina was never in doubt yesterday and a birdie on the par-five second set him off in just the right mood.
France’s Gregory Havret finished in second place on 10-under-par after a storming five-under 65, while Sweden’s Peter Hanson was placed third on nine-under after closing with an even-par 70.
Quiros, who had led or shared the lead in the event for all three days coming into yesterday, faded with a three-over 74 to finish on seven-under and joint-seventh.
Juvic Pagunsan’s six-under for the tournament was enough for 10th place and sealed him the Asian Tour Order of Merit, the first time a player from the Philippines has won the title.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum for US$400 million, ending the billionaire’s legal fight with Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) and clearing the way to build a new arena for his NBA team down the street in Inglewood, California. Ballmer on Tuesday announced his cash purchase of the venerated arena. Ballmer, a former Microsoft executive, and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong are making the transaction through CAPSS LLC, a newly formed entity that would continue to operate the Forum as a live music venue. “This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said.
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When two Spanish soccer players took to the controls of FIFA 20 after the COVID-19 pandemic saw their La Liga match canceled, a stadium-sized virtual audience watched online. The huge digital crowd last week is part of a spectacular boom for the digital gaming industry, as record numbers flock to online servers for distraction, entertainment and friendship with the “real world” seemingly falling apart. Real Betis Balompie striker Borja Iglesias kicked the winning goal using his own digital likeness in the 6-5 battle against Sevilla, which was broadcast on popular video game streaming platform Twitch. It took place at the same time the
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