Race to Dubai set for thrilling finale

Donald and McIlroy set for showdown in the sand when players head to Dubai World Championships for season-ending event

Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy

As the season starts to wind down, the Race to Dubai is hotting up as the world's numbers one and two go head-to-head.

Luke Donald currently leads the overall standings and is on course for a historic US and European Tour money list double.

With a lead of over €1 million, the only man who can realistically catch him now is new world number two Rory McIlroy.

The Northern Irishman kept his hopes alive of winning the Harry Vardon Trophy and the €1.5 million bonus money at the WGC-HSBC Champions last week.

Had McIlroy not birdied the 15th, 16th and 18th at the Sheshan International Golf Club last week the race would be all but finished.

The late move from McIlroy pushed him up to a fourth place finish, which still gives him a chance at pipping Donald.

With Donald only playing in the season ending Dubai World Championship, McIlroy can close the gap when he competes in the UBS Hong Kong Open the week before.

Back-to-back wins for McIlroy would mean Donald would need a top 12 finish in Dubai to close out his attempt to be the first player in history to win both money lists in the same season. McIlroy also has a fine record in both events, making the task a realistic possibility.

Martin Kaymer has effectively ruled himself out of winning the Race to Dubai despite being second in the standings ahead of the final event.

The German, who won last year's race, won in China last week at the WGC-HSBC Champions event to give himself a chance at the bonus cash on offer in Dubai.

Kaymer has played 21 European Tour events this year and hasn't scheduled any other events, which he would need to beat Donald, even if he wins in Dubai.

If Donald can complete the double it will be a fitting way for the world number one to end the season and demonstrate just how good he is, having received a lot of skepticism over his world ranking in the US because of his lack of a Major title.

A mention must go to Sergio Garcia, who has won the European Tour golfer of the month for October after back-to-back wins at the Castello and Andalucia Masters. He will be one to watch in next year's Race to Dubai now he has rediscovered his form.

Lee Westwood and Charl Schwartzel have had fine seasons as well and are both in the top five of the Race to Dubai standings, but the gap between the pair and Donald is now unassailable.

Darren Clarke has also made it into the top 10 after his Open Championship win, along with Thomas Bjorn, Simon Dyson and Anders Hansen.

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