The Northern Irishman came from seven shots back on the final day at Wentworth Club to overhaul Dane Thomas Björn and claim his first professional victory in Continental Europe.
“I feel relieved,” said McIlroy. “It’s been 18 months since I won on The European Tour and to win the Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth – I couldn’t ask for any more.
“I knew coming in here that I was playing well. I struggled a little on Friday but played great over the weekend and in the final round I was helped by a couple of mistakes from the guys in front of me. My caddie, JP, set me a target of 15 under. I didn’t quite get there but luckily 14 under was good enough.
“The support I got all week was incredible and it really helped me so it was great to be able to get the win in front of such good fans.”
McIlroy won the DP World Tour Championship in 2012, en route to finishing the season as European Number One.
This year the event returns to Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai from 20-23 November and will once again feature the top 60 players in The Race to Dubai.
McIlroy’s Wentworth winner’s cheque of €791,660 takes his season’s earnings to €1,295,825 and moves him to second in The Race to Dubai.
It was also a great week for Ireland’s Shane Lowry, who started the week 165th in The Race to Dubai after a difficult start to the season but produced an excellent display. A long, snaking birdie putt at the last secured him the runner-up spot, which earned him €527,770 and propelled him to 15th in The Race to Dubai.
He said: “I’ve had so many bad days this year, I’ve been struggling such a lot, that I just said to myself, ‘Go out and enjoy it and see what happens’. With the putt on the last I was just trying to two-putt it to be honest as I knew I couldn’t win the tournament at that point, so it was a great way to finish and get second place on my own. I’m really looking forward to the next few events now.”
Race to Dubai leader and former Dubai resident Thomas Björn, who is already guaranteed a place in the DP World Tour Championship field, looked to be in firm control of the tournament, heading into the final round with a five shot lead.
The Dane set a new course record with a 62 in the opening round, but made a costly mistake on the sixth hole of the last round, running up a triple bogey seven. He eventually had to settle for a share of third place alongside Luke Donald.
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