Grégory Bourdy held off a sustained charge by Rory McIlroy to triumph by two shots at the UBS Hong Kong Open after a final round 67 earned him top spot with a score of 19 under par.
Overnight leader Bourdy, who began the day on 16 under par, produced a nerveless round that continued the superb putting that had been a prominent feature of his play all week in Fanling.
The win, Bourdy’s third on The European Tour, makes him the first Frenchman to win three tournaments in consecutive years and earns him a place at next week’s season-ending Dubai World Championship presented by: DP World.
“It is fantastic. It is my mother’s birthday today so I dedicate this to her," he said. "I needed this victory to go to Dubai as well, my girlfriend is here and everything went right.
“I wanted to stay focused on my game, play shot by shot and I knew if I was three or four under it would be okay to win the tournament.”
“I knew if I won I would go to Dubai but first was to play well today and win this UBS Hong Kong Open. I have played well, won and I’m going to Dubai so I have everything.”
McIlroy, who rifled a final round 64 to finish on 17 under par, was left to rue a three-putt bogey on the 17th having previously been five under through seven holes on his back nine.
“It was a bit of an anxious putt on the 17th but apart from that it was a really good round of golf,” said the 20 year old.
“I went out with the mindset that if I went lower than 65 then I might have a chance but Gregory obviously played very well.”
The blow is cushioned, however, by the fact he heads into next week’s tournament atop The Race to Dubai standings after current leader Lee Westwood finished down in a tie for 54th following a final round 74.
“I am a bit disappointed at the moment but I have the consolation of going back to the top of The Race to Dubai. It is where I wanted to be going into the final tournament.”
McIlroy's fireworks earned him a second-placed finish for the second consecutive year at Hong Kong Golf Club, pushing Robert-Jan Derksen into a tie for third with Francesco Molinari (64) after the Dutchman could only manage a final round 68.
“It wasn't to be,” said Derksen, who also moved to 67th in The Race to Dubai.
“I tried to make birdies coming in and thought if I could make that one on the last I might just make the Dubai World Championship but I just missed out on that as well. But that is the way it is and that's golf.”
Raphaël Jacquelin’s superb round of six under par catapulted him into a a tie for fifth alongside Barclays Singapore Open champion Ian Poulter, who also fired a 64 to join the Frenchman on the 14 under par mark.
Poulter said: “I gave myself chances but think a lot of people gave themselves chances.
“I had a chance to have a run at it but didn't quite do enough.
“It is all good going into the next couple of weeks. It will be exciting next week and there should be some fireworks on the golf course.”
Peter Lawrie ended a shot behind Poulter and Jacquelin in outright seventh on 13 under par, his 67 dropping him three places down the final standings after his overnight tally of ten under par.
Continuing the trend of low scores Simon Dyson earned himself outright eighth thanks to a flawless round of 66 that pushed him to 12 under par, one in front of David Dixon - who secured his card for next year thanks to a 67 - and Scott Strange (66), who both finished tied for ninth.
Elsewhere, Darren Clarke was left agonisingly 61st in The Race to Dubai and one place short of a berth at the Dubai World Championship presented by: DP World after he ended in a tie for 11th on ten under par.
“I've tried my heart out all week,” said Clarke. “I had a lot of chances coming in and burnt the edges but I am proud I went out this week and gave myself every chance.”
Clarke’s fortunes were in stark contrast to Liang Wen-Chong, who earned a place at the Earth Course next week after moving to 57th place in the rankings.
“I would like to thank all my fans in Hong Kong who made the special effort to come here to support me,” he said after finishing, like Clarke, on ten under par.
“It really warmed my heart to see so many supporters following me throughout my four rounds this week.
“It's going to be really exciting and challenging for me to compete in Dubai and as always, I'll try to do my best there.”
As the dust settled on the week, when so much was at stake in terms of getting into the top 60 and the Dubai World Championship and the top 120 to secure playing rights for next season, Jamie Donaldson held on to 60th place in the Race to Dubai and Seve Benson, who finished tied 17th in the JBWere Masters, claimed the last card for finishing 120th.