Russell Knox emerged victorious after a playoff with Ryan Fox on a thrilling afternoon at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open on Sunday.
It was an epic end to a hugely successful event that attracted 94,239 fans over five days - 27,055 yesterday - making it bigger than the preceding Irish Opens at The K Club and Portstewart.
The New Zealander had that putt for the title but missed on the high side and the pair were left to go back up the last.
But Fox then sunk a long putt to put the pressure on Fox and his miss meant he was unable to force a second play-off hole.
He secured his Open Championship berth by sharing second at last week's French Open and now heads home for next week's Scottish Open at Gullane before teeing up at Carnoustie. I'm so happy. I said (on the play-off hole) we've already made this putt, it can't be too hard.
"My goal was to come to Europe for a month and then try and win a tournament, and to finish tied second last week in France and then to win this great tournament, I feel very lucky and unbelievable".
"I'll just treat it like any other event", McIlroy said. This is a heck of a start, but I feel like I've got a lot more to go.
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With an early eagle on the fourth hole, the Scot added birdies at both the sixth and 10th holes as Van Rooyen struggled with three bogeys in his opening nine holes. "I hit the shots I wanted to down the stretch, I felt comfortable out there and it was close".
"To make that team, you have to win tournaments".
"I hit two great putts on 18, one grazed the edge and one came back at me", Fox said afterwards.
After moving day, South African Erik Van Rooyen was in control with a four shot lead heading into the final round.
Fox shot 68 to Knox's 66, with Jorge Campillo going round in 65 to finish one off the pace at 13 under.
Somehow, he sunk it again, roaring with delight, sending the crowd into raptures, and leaving Fox with a 12-footer to stay alive. The leading four players not already exempt from the top-12 finishers qualified. "I love having to hit the little bump-and-runs from 70 yards like I had on 18 a couple of times", he said.