31 Oct 2011

McIlroy picks up huge cheque for winning in China

8:23 am on 31 October 2011

Rory McIlroy enjoyed a $US 2 million ($NZ 2.4 million) pay day after a nerve-shredding play-off with American Anthony Kim, who came within a whisker of claiming the lavish purse at the Shanghai Golf Masters.

The pair duelled in a tense sudden death on the tricky par four 18th hole for the biggest cash prize in golf.

Nothing separated the players at the last, with their approach shots landing four feet apart in the bunker under the green amid disbelieving gasps from the grandstand.

But Kim gifted McIlroy the most lucrative cheque of his career when he missed a crucial three-foot putt after a precision bunker shot.

McIlroy, the world No.3, tapped in from two feet to complete a pleasing first week's work.

Early nerves frazzled the US Open champion who dropped three shots - hitting the water and rough with wayward drives - and threatened to derail his title charge after leading the 30-strong field from the first day.

It allowed Kim, who picked up the $US 750,000 ($NZ 900,000) second prize, to take a one-shot lead but the Northern Irishman stormed back to card a par 72 and end the tournament tied on 18-under overall to force the play-off.

American Hunter Mahan and the impressive Korean youngster Noh Seung-Yul tied third, each on 13 under.