Haikou - Rory McIlroy finally tasted success for the first time this year when
he beat an ailing Tiger Woods by one shot in a megabucks exhibition in
China on Monday.
In the 'Match at Mission Hills', at a sprawling
golf complex on Hainan Island, the Northern Irish world number six shot
six-under-par 66 to Woods' 67 in the one-round face-off.
who has dropped off the top of the rankings and has not won a tournament
all year, also beat Woods by one shot in a similar Chinese event last
Monday's victory, at the same venue where he won the World
Cup with Graeme McDowell in 2011, will give him a boost ahead of this
week's WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
"I would like to play all my tournaments in China where I can beat Tiger," said the 24-year-old.
been great to come back to this wonderful golf course where I still
have such great memories from playing here two years ago in the World
Last year's 'Duel at Jinsha Lake' was notable for its unruly
fans, and marshalls and officials - and Woods's manager - again
struggled to control the crowd at times on Monday.
touched down after a 22-hour journey late on Sunday, was also battling a
virus caught from his daughter, with his voice reduced to a whisper by
the end of the round.
"I don't sound all that well now but it was
nice that it was warm out there today as that certainly helped, because I
think my fever broke and I can start feeling a bit better," said the
world number one.
"But I tell you what, when you have kids they
bring home some strong bugs and this one has definitely been kicking my
butt for the last couple of days."
McIlroy got off to a great
start when he birdied the first two holes before Woods, competing in his
first event since the Presidents Cup, responded with birdies at three
McIlroy shot a double-bogey on the fifth and he trailed
Woods by a stroke coming into the par-five 12th, where both players
raised a cheer by firing eagles.
The Ulsterman drew level with a
birdie at 14 and it was Woods who blinked first when he three-putted for
bogey on 17. Both players finished with a birdie on the last hole.
was an encouraging outing for McIlroy, who finished tied second at the
Kolon Korea Open before fading from a promising position at last week's
BMW Masters in Shanghai.
"So I leave here and head back to
Shanghai with my game good and there has been a lot of promising signs
in practice and in my competitive play," he said.
"I still have
four tournaments left to the end of the season and still would love to
finish 2013 strongly and get some momentum into next season.
hitting the ball well and from tee-to-green the game is very solid and
if I can get the putter working, I maybe can contend and get a win or
Woods is remaining in Asia for promotional engagements
before heading to Turkey and next week's inaugural Turkish Airlines Open
While the appearance fee was not revealed, reports said Woods and McIlroy split $3 million for playing last year's 'Duel'.