Rory McIlroy has risen into the automatic qualifying places for The 2018 Ryder Cup following a runner-up finish in Dubai last week.
The four-time Major winner has made an excellent comeback from injury, finishing tied third and second in his first two starts of 2018 in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
It could have been even better for the Northern Irishman though, who led China’s Li Haotong by two shots with eight holes left to play at Emirates Golf Club.
But Li produced a stunning finish to claim a record-breaking victory, birdieing four of his final six holes to reach 23 under par overall – a new record score for the tournament.
Despite being edged out on this occasion McIlroy looks to be back to his best, and is now back into the top ten in the Official World Golf Ranking after back-to-back top five finishes in the Middle East.
Now occupying the eighth automatic qualifying spot through the World Points list, McIlroy is the only change to the top eight, with Ireland’s Paul Dunne dropping down to ninth spot.
The points race, which began at the REAL D+D Czech Masters last year, will heat up once May comes around, when points earned will be multiplied by 1.5 at Rolex Series events.
This change to the points system will come into effect at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, the first Rolex Series event of the season. With plenty to look forward to, the build-up to The 2018 Ryder Cup promises to be one of the most fascinating yet.