Luke Donald was not surprised to see Rory McIlroy crank up the pressure in The Race to Dubai by winning the UBS Hong Kong Open, but the World Number One is still confident of completing a money list double.
Looking to become the first player to win the US PGA Tour and European Tour money lists in the same season, Donald must now finish in the top eight if McIlroy wins the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World after the Northern Irishman closed the gap to €789,788 with victory at Fanling.
“I didn’t expect anything less from Rory,” said 33 year old Donald. “I knew he’d put the pressure on me and make it tough going, but I’ve still got a nice comfortable lead - he’s going to have to go out and win next week and beat a high quality field, and I think the advantage is still in my court.
“I turned on the scores and saw Rory was having a good day and some of the other guys ahead of him weren’t putting too much pressure on him.
“So he did what he needed to do and won the tournament. It was the same in Disney, except this time I have a lead, so I hope I can hold on to the lead."
Donald was speaking after finishing seventh at the Nedbank Golf Challenge – ten shots behind compatriot Lee Westwood.
But the BMW PGA Championship winner insists he is ready to up his game at the Earth Course next week.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he added. “This week was important to me. It was important to get out here and shake a little rust off and it was a great prep week for next week.
“It was a perfect week. I didn’t play quite my best, but coming off five weeks of off time, I knew I’d be a little bit rusty, and that was exactly why I wanted to come here – and that means no disrespect to this tournament. I wanted to win it, but I knew I was going to get two solid rounds in, work on my game and feel ready when I get to Dubai.”
Asked about what it would mean to become the first player to win both money list titles in the same season Donald continued: “It would mean history. No-one’s ever done it, officially, and it would be a lot of satisfaction – for all the hard work. It’s been a great year and that would be the icing on the cake.”