Thursday, May 06, 2010

McIlroy is April's Number One

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy was given a belated birthday present with the news he has been voted The Race to Dubai Golfer of the Month for April. McIlroy turned 21 on Tuesday May 4, two days after his stunning first triumph on the US PGA Tour in the Quail Hollow Championship, a victory which sealed his winning of the award in the eyes of the judging panel, which consisted of members of the Association of Golf Writers as well as radio and television commentators. McIlroy, who will receive a jeroboam of Moët & Chandon champagne as well as an engraved alms dish in recognition of his achievement, produced a performance of truly breathtaking ability at the Quail Hollow Club. Having made the weekend action right on the cut line, he stormed through the field with a best of day 66 on Saturday before a course record 62 on Sunday – a round which finished with six consecutive threes – saw him win by four strokes from Masters Champion Phil Mickelson. “I am thrilled to be recognised by The European Tour with this award, it really means a lot,” he said. “I'm really looking forward to getting back to Europe and playing in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and I suppose I will play there as the reigning Golfer of the Month which will be really nice. “Even now I am still thinking back to the victory at Quail Hollow. The final round was one of those rounds you are never going to forget to be honest. I was in such a good frame of mind going out that I knew I had a chance and there is no better feeling in the world than to go out and beat such a high quality field over such a good golf course.” It is the second time that McIlroy has won The Race to Dubai Golfer of the Month Award, the first time being in January 2009 following his maiden European Tour triumph in the Dubai Desert Classic. Although he was the ultimate choice of the panel, they did note a number of other sterling performances by European Tour Members across the fairways of the world in April. Included in that number was England’s James Morrison who claimed his maiden European Tour title in the Madeira Islands Open BPI – Portugal before losing in a play-off for the Open de España three weeks later to another player praised by the panel, Spain’s Alvaro Quiros. Also commended were Korea’s Y E Yang and Marcus Fraser of Australia for their respective victories in the Volvo China Open and the Ballantine’s Championship, while Bernhard Langer’s continued prominence on the US Champions Tour was recognised following his tenth title success in the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am. Finally, the panel acknowledged another fine month by reigning European Number One Lee Westwood who finished tied eighth in the Shell Houston Open on the US PGA Tour before pushing Phil Mickelson all the way at Augusta National in one of the most thrilling Masters Tournaments of recent years. McIlroy joins South Africans Richard Sterne and Ernie Els – winners of the January and March Awards respectively – and England’s Ian Poulter, who picked up the February Award, as candidates for The Race to Dubai Golfer of the Year on The European Tour, which will be decided at the end of the season.

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