Well.. my heart nearly stopped a couple of times as the 19 year old golfing sensation that is Rory McIlroy eventually staggered over the winning line in Dubai! Rory had every golfing nut in Northern Ireland holding their breath as he faltered over the last few holes by dropping three shots in only three holes as the experienced Justin Rose closed in. The six shot lead that McIlroy had built up had seemed a such comfortable cushion. But golf is a cruel game and tends to bite just when the comfort zone gets to the slippers and a wee cup of tea stage!
McIlroy refused to make things easy for himself up the last hole when he enjoyed only a scant one shot lead over the young Englishman, who knows how to win and would have been well aware of the pressure McIlroy was under. Rose himself took a long time to win on tour when he turned pro after some amateur fireworks in the British Open a few years ago.
An over excited approach shot to the Par 5 18th saw Rory “flip” it into the back bunker in three while Rose managed to leave himself a 20 footer for birdie and a chance of a play off. A once in a lifetime bunker shot of pure genius saw the Northern Ireland youngster get the golf ball to about three feet from the hole despite the added pressure of a slick slope behind the pin and an ever beckoning lake. But, even after that flash of brilliance, the lad still faced with a tricky cross-green trundle for a one shot victory. The certainty of that victory needed McIlroy to hole out and Rose to miss his birdie effort. Rose conspired with the making of history to do just that – despite a valiant effort. Both golfers at this stage must have been feeling the jitters to an alarming degree as a €323,514.99 prize awaited the winner.
With Rose holed out for par the young Northern Irish player was left staring at a difficult par putt and a one shot victory. I’m sure that every breath in every Sky Sports endowed house and pub in Ireland was stilled as the lad struck that putt. I’m sure the sound levels across Ireland went down as golfers’ hearts missed a beat on that ball’s three foot roll to the hole!
Superb victory, young Rory. Well deserved and, hopefully, the first of many!