Victor Dubuisson withstands pressure but not tears
Rory McIlroy could only manage a final round 71 finishing tied for sixth in Turkey
Victor Dubuisson of France plays a bunker shot to the 18th green during the third round of the Turkish Airlines Open at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal Golf Club. Photograph: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
In taking the title for a second time in three years, the Frenchman - who had endured a miserable old time and homesickness in his failed bid to make it on the PGA Tour - found some home comforts back in Europe with three birdies in his final four holes for a 66 for a 22-under-par total of 266 that gave him a one stroke winning margin over South African Jaco Van Zyl.
Rory McIlroy, the world number three and leader of the Race to Dubai standings, went into the final round just a shot adrift of 54-hole leaders Dubuisson and Van Zyl but struggled with his iron play. In the end, the Northern Irishman had to be content with a finishing 71 for 272 which left him in tied-sixth.
“It’s always disappointing whenever you have a chance to win and you don’t well play enough to do that. I’ll be going away from this tournament very disappointed with how I played today. But I’m still playing two more events this year and I feel like my game is good enough to give myself two opportunities to win again,” insisted McIlroy, who plays in this week’s HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China.
Of his game, McIlroy added: “It’s not all bad. I feel like my game is in decent shape going forward. I just need to work on a couple of things and if I can get them straightened out in the next couple of weeks, I should be okay.”
McIlroy retained his lead atop the European Tour order of merit and will play two further events to finish off his season, the HSBC and then, after a week’s break, the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Shane Lowry’s closing round 66 for 273, 15-under, moved him up to eight place and earned him a cheque for €156,449. He also moved up to third in the latest Race to Dubai standings and the Offalyman plans to play in all three remaining tournaments - the HSBC, the BMW Masters and the DP World Tour Championship in his bid to chase down McIlroy.
Lowry attributed his improved final round showing to making an adjustment in his stance, following work on the range after his third round on Saturday evening. “I just switched my ball positioning a little bit, I moved it a bit more forward. It almost felt too far forward but I committed to having that for the whole day and it worked, it led to straighter shots,” he said.
“I am definitely going to China with confidence next week, there is no reason why I can’t go to compete next week . . . . it is my plan come this time next week that I have a chance to win that tournament,” said Lowry.
Graeme McDowell finished with a closing 73 for 283, which plunged him down the leaderboard to tied-37th. The Co Antrim man doesn’t intend to play again on the European Tour this season and will instead play the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico and the McGladrey Classic, both on the PGA Tour’s 2016 wraparound schedule.
Ryder Cup player Dubuisson closed with three birdies in his final four holes - on the 15th, 17th and 18th - to overhaul Van Zyl and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who finished alone in third.