After starting the final round a shot behind Andy Sullivan, McIlroy carded eight birdies in the first 15 holes to surge into a two-shot lead with two holes to play, only to then find the water with an “horrendous” tee shot on the par-three 17th. However, the four-time major winner holed from 30 feet to salvage a bogey and take a one-shot lead up the 18th, which proved just enough to secure his fourth win of an injury-hit year after Sullivan’s birdie attempt narrowly missed. McIlroy walked away with a total of £2.1million thanks to the winner’s cheque and his share of the £4million bonus pool, and although the 26-year-old remains third in the world rankings, he has closed to within 0.48 points of number one Jordan Spieth after ticking off just one of the golf-related goals he wrote on the back of a boarding pass in January. ” Obviously I wanted to win majors, I wanted to improve in certain areas of my game and didn’t quite do that, but these things happen,” McIlroy added. “Y ou have to set yourself these lofty goals to try and get better.” Sullivan held a one-shot lead overnight and extended it to three with birdies on the first and second, but looked to have finally run out of steam on the back nine until McIlroy surprisingly threw the £5.2million event wide open once more on the 17th. “I thought, ‘I’m back in it’,” said Sullivan, who was roared on all week by 30 members of his golf club from Nuneaton. “But I gave him a great read on my (birdie) putt. I turned to my caddie and said, ‘I expect him to hole this’. That’s just the world-class performer he is. ” It was an awesome day. Just to come up head-to-head with someone of Rory’s quality, it was absolutely awesome and something that will stick with me for a long time going forward.” Sullivan was ranked 150th in the world at the end of 2014 but won twice in South Africa and led from start to finish in the Portugal Masters last month to climb into the top 40. Staying inside the top 50 at the end of the year will secure a Masters debut next April. “It’s going to be amazing,” the 29-year-old added. “It will be a nice way to finish the season off to get an invite to the Masters.” Sullivan, who is also third in the Ryder Cup qualifying race now headed by McIlroy, added: ” It was not even on my radar at the start of the year. I’ve got another year of points to win and hopefully it will sort itself out.” “It’s definitely the longest putt I’ve ever made for a bogey,” McIlroy said after a closing 66 saw him finish 21 under par at Jumeirah Golf Estates, one shot ahead of Sullivan with South African Branden Grace a distant third on 15 under. “I don’t think there’s been one that’s ever come at a better time, so definitely the best bogey of my career. ” On Thursday it was a similar yardage and I was in between a five and a six iron. I tried to hit a six iron off the back foot and left it out to the right. I tried to do the exact same thing today, hit the exact same shot. I t was 40 yards off line. It was just a horrendous golf shot. ” I guess if I had been tied playing the last, I would have backed myself with my length, but giving myself that one-shot cushion made a huge difference and I was able to just hang on. “I’ve played really good golf this week, 13 under par at the weekend. I couldn’t think of a better way to finish the season so I’m really happy going into the Christmas break and looking forward to what’s in store for 2016.” McIlroy missed three tournaments this summer, including the defence of his Open title at St Andrews, due to an ankle injury suffered playing football with friends and needed a controversial exemption to compete in the European Tour’s season finale after not playing enough events. Nearest rival Danny Willett felt that gave McIlroy an unfair advantage but was unable to dislodge the four-time major winner from top spot in the money list. It was a position McIlroy held since finishing fourth in the Masters before winning the WGC-Cadillac Match Play three weeks later. Willett had to settle for a six-way tie for fourth on 13 under which included Italy’s Francesco Molinari, who recorded a hole-in-one on the sixth in a final round of 68. ” I guess if someone had said you’re going to finish fourth and see where that gets you, you might have taken it,” Willett said. “U nfortunately we are going to come up shy by one on the Race to Dubai but hopefully next year we’re in a similar position and can try and change the story.” Press Association Rory McIlroy hailed the best bogey of his career after surviving a dramatic lapse in concentration to win the DP World Tour Championship and claim a third Race to Dubai title in the last four years.
“It’s going to take some time [to get them healthy],” head coach Clay Helton said. “We’re going to believe in the kids that are out here. Hopefully, we’ll get some back here soon.” The Trojans are in Boulder this weekend to take on Colorado in their second Friday night game of the season. On defense, the Trojans will certainly feel the loss of freshman defensive lineman Drake Jackson, who leads the team in sacks, and sophomore safety Talanoa Hufanga, who is second on the team in solo tackles with 32. Although there’s been upheaval at quarterback, with Slovis, sophomore JT Daniels and redshirt junior Matt Fink all are taking significant snaps this season, Slovis looks to be “the guy” for the rest of the season, coming in at No. 7 in the country in completion percentage at 73.6%. Despite his strong showings thus far, Slovis said that being more consistent and staying disciplined are two of his focuses heading into Colorado. The running back void will be filled by freshman Kenan Christon, who lit up Arizona in his college debut Saturday with two touchdowns. Helton said the team is focused on making the most of its opportunity to earn a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game at the end of the season. “I think it’s important for us to run the football because as a quarterback, it’s hard to be on every night,” offensive coordinator Graham Harrell said. “At any position, it’s hard to be on every night. It’s just when you’re the quarterback everyone sees it a lot more … If you ever have a night where the quarterback is struggling a little bit, you can help him settle in and you can take some pressure off of him if you can run the football successfully.” “As a coach, we’re not paid to make excuses,” he said. “We’re paid to find answers, and we’ll find those answers. We’ve got a huge opportunity that stands right there for us. We can write our own story right now.” Freshman running back Kenan Christon will likely have the most carries against Colorado Friday. (Tal Volk / DailyTrojan) USC (4-3, 3-1 in the Pac-12), although undefeated at home this season, has yet to win a road game. The Trojans have won the last 13 games in their series against Colorado (3-4, 1-3 in the Pac-12), and this game is another stepping stone on their quest for a Pac-12 title. Following the injuries to USC’s three go-to backs, running backs coach Mike Jinks said the team’s mindset is “next man up.” Despite their limited resources at running back, the Trojans will still make an effort to put the ball on the ground to support freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis, who struggled to move the ball in the early going against Arizona. “From the beginning with JT going down, your starting quarterback gets hurt, you never want to see that,” he said. “Then to have your first three running backs go down, again you never want to see that happen. But you have to move up and have that ‘next man up’ mentality.” The Trojans are optimistic heading into this matchup against Colorado, despite having many crucial players sidelined. Slovis said spirits on the team are still high. Unlike USC, which just picked up a decisive win, Colorado enters this weekend coming off an ugly loss to Washington State. The Trojans have proven to be quite resilient this season, and despite losing plenty of familiar faces to injury, this game will likely follow tradition and not be the first time the program drops a game to the Buffaloes. This season has been laden with injuries for the Trojans, testing the team’s depth. This week, USC will feel the absence of tailbacks redshirt freshman Markese Stepp and junior Stephen Carr. This comes after already losing redshirt junior Vavae Malepeai to knee surgery.