McIlroy looking forward to defending title in Shanghai

Updated: 2012-09-07 07:44

By China Daily (China Daily)

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McIlroy looking forward to defending title in Shanghai

Rory McIlroy will be the major attraction at this year's BMW Masters when the Northern Irishman returns to Shanghai in October following his stunning victory at the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island three weeks ago and Deutsche Bank Championship win at TPC Boston on Sept 3.

The 23-year-old reclaimed the title of world No 1 when securing an eight-shot victory at the year's final major - the same winning margin which earned him his maiden major title at the 2010 US Open Championship at Congressional.

Now, he has moved to the top of the FedEx Cup point standings after overcoming a three-shot deficit on Monday in five holes. A few mistakes on the final two holes saw him close with a four-under 67 and escape with a one-shot victory over Louis Oosthuizen.

McIlroy will no doubt be the center of attention when he joins a world-class field at Shanghai's Lake Malaren Golf Club from Oct 25-28 as the BMW Masters joins the European Tour's international schedule with a $7 million prize fund.

The two-time major winner has experienced much success in recent years on Chinese soil, having secured two top-10 finishes in Shanghai over the past two years.

Not only that, but McIlroy also claimed the Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters last year, which has been replaced by this year's European Tour-sanctioned BMW Masters but remains at the much-lauded venue, and he is relishing the challenge of taking the title this year.

"I can't wait to return to Shanghai and it will definitely be special going back there as a reigning major champion once again," said McIlroy. "The Chinese fans have always supported me over the years and I am delighted to return to them as a multiple major winner.

"I have had some great results in China in recent years, obviously including a win during my first visit to Lake Malaren last October. Of course, my win in Hong Kong a few weeks later - especially the way in which I did it - was also special and is something I will never forget.

"The BMW Masters looks like it is going to be a top-class tournament so to go back to Lake Malaren and win for the second time would really put the icing on the cake of what has already been a great year for me."

Marco Kaussler, the tournament director, also welcomed McIlroy's confirmation: "We are delighted to be able to present the world's No 1 player to golf fans in China and Asia. Rory has enjoyed a fruitful season and proved himself to be the best golfer on the planet, and it would be fantastic if he could defend his title at the BMW Masters this October."

Aside from golf's four majors, the World Golf Championships and the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, the BMW Masters will be the most lucrative event on The Race to Dubai this year.

The exclusive field will consist of about 78 players, the majority of whom feature in the top 100 of the world golf rankings. The remaining places will be taken by four players invited directly by the organizers and a 14-man contingent from the Chinese Golf Association (CGA), with whom BMW is cooperating with on the organization of the tournament.

The BMW Masters will be played on a course designed by golfing legend Jack Nicklaus, which received rave reviews when it was used for a top-flight tournament for the first time last year.

(China Daily 09/07/2012 page23)