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Rory's eyes on the prize as Race to Dubai heats up

McIlroy has targeted a win at this week’s Hong Kong Open as he attempts to reel in Luke Donald at the top of the European money list.

Image: Eugene Hoshiko/AP/Press Association Images

RORY MCILROY is refusing to give up the chase as the race to top the European Tour’s money list enters its final two weeks.

The world number two has targeted a win at this week’s Hong Kong Open as he tries to close the €1.1m gap and prevent Luke Donald from becoming the first player to top the earnings chart on both sides of the Atlantic in the same season.

A second-place finish this week, coupled with a win next weekend at the Dubai World Championship, would be enough for McIlroy to leapfrog Britain’s world number one at the top of the pile.

But with Donald opting to play a non-tour event in South Africa, the Hollywood kid knows that the €340,000 first prize on offer in Hong Kong would tee him up nicely ahead of next weekend’s cash bonanza.

Speaking yesterday, McIlroy insisted that adding one last title to a massively successful 2011 was more important than finishing strongly in the Race to Dubai.

“I am not going into this week with any unrealistic expectations but if I win I give myself at least a little bit of a better chance in Dubai,” said McIlroy.

“In my favour is that I have played well in the past in the Hong Kong Open, finishing runner-up in 2008 and 2009, so I know what is required around the golf course.

More so than looking to stop Luke winning the money-list, I am more concerned about getting another win this year.

McIlroy also paid tribute to Donald, highlighting the Briton’s consistency as the benchmark which he will try to emulate next season.

If he can manage that, the 22-year-old said, it’s only a matter of time before he takes the final step on his meteoric rise to the top.

“He is deservedly the number one player in the world, he’s been the most consistent performer over the past 12 to 18 months.

“That’s the sort of level of golf I’ll need to play to overtake him and try and get the number one spot. My goal this year was to try and consolidate myself in the top five in the world and I moved up to two, which is a great achievement.

If I can get a little bit closer to that number one spot by the end of 2011, try and play well at the start of 2012 and try and get to the number one spot, of course it’s a big ambition for me. Being so close, it would be great to take that next step.

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