McIlroy’s birdie stretch holds off Rose’s record 62
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Rory McIlroy made five consecutive birdies down the stretch to overtake Justin Rose and win the Dubai World Championship on Sunday, ending an historic year in which the 23-year-old Northern Irishman won the PGA Championship and the European and PGA tour money titles.
The top-ranked McIlroy recovered from early putting woes to finish at 6-under 66 for a total 23-under 265 at the season-ending tournament. Rose, who was tied for seventh after three rounds, surged down the stretch into contention after shooting a course-record 62 that included an eagle and eight birdies.
“I just wanted to finish the season the way I thought I deserved to finish the season,” McIlroy said after holing a birdie on 18 and raising his arms in the air in celebration.
Second-ranked Luke Donald (71) was tied for third with Charl Schwartzel (68) of South Africa. Louis Oosthuizen (69) was another shot back in fifth.
The day was supposed to be a duel between McIlroy and Donald, who were tied for the lead after the third round. The Englishman grabbed an early two-shot lead when McIlroy bogeyed the first and Donald birdied the second.
But then Donald three-putted the third to end a streak of 102 holes on the Earth Course without a bogey to give McIlroy a chance.
In the meantime, Rose was climbing up the leaderboard to challenge, taking a brief lead before finishing second.
Vettel overcomes crash to win third F1 championship
SAO PAULO – Sebastian Vettel captured his third consecutive Formula One championship title Sunday, overcoming a first-lap crash to finish sixth in a Brazilian Grand Prix won by Jenson Button under pouring rain.
“It’s difficult to find the right words,” said Vettel, who at 25 became the youngest three-time champion in F1.
“It’s unbelievable. I’m still full of adrenaline. It was an incredible race.”
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, F1’s most successful driver, finished seventh in his final race after 19 seasons.
Vettel appeared in big trouble after he was bumped shortly after the first lap and spun. He dropped to last place before he could turn his car around and start a difficult pursuit. But he steadily worked his way up the field and did what he had to – holding off Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, the only other driver contending for the title.
Vettel is the first driver with three titles in a row since Schumacher won five consecutive from 2000-04. The only other driver to win at least three consecutive championships was Juan Manuel Fangio from 1954-57.
Alonso’s Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa was third in front of his home crowd.
Auburn’s fall from grace costs Chizik his job
AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn coach Gene Chizik was fired Sunday after the Tigers’ rapid fall from a national champion to a winless Southeastern Conference season.
The Tigers endured the worst slide within two years of winning a national championship of any team since the Associated Press poll started in 1936 and hadn’t lost this many games since going 0-10 in 1950.
The decision came 17 months after Auburn gave Chizik a contract worth some $3.5 million annually through 2015 with a hefty buyout.
The players were informed in a team meeting Sunday.
“I’m extremely disappointed with the way this season turned out, and I apologize to the Auburn family and our team for what they have had to endure,” Chizik said.
The Tigers went from 14-0 with a perfect SEC record with Cam Newton leading the offense in 2010 to 3-9 and 0-8, losing their final three league games by a combined 150-21.
Auburn was blown out by Texas A&M (63-21) and Georgia (38-0), but the finale was even more painful for Tigers fans.