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Rory Bests Tiger by One in 'Duel at Jinsha Lake'
No. 1-ranked Rory McIlroy fired a 5-under 67 to edge No. 2 Tiger Woods by a stroke in an 18-hole match called the "Duel at Jinsha Lake." The event took place Monday at Jinsha Lake Golf Club in Zhengzhou, an industrial city in China's Henan province.
Both had played in 72-hole tournaments prior to the one-day event and then made long journeys to Zhengzhou. Woods came from Malaysia, where he finished fourth in the CIMB Classic - an event co-sanctioned by the PGA and Asian tours, while McIlroy arrived from Shanghai after being the runner-up to Peter Hanson in the European Tour's BMW Masters.
According to various reports, Woods received a $2 million appearance feel while McIlroy got $1 million for the "Duel at Jinsha Lake."
Woods believes that such one-on-one competitions are good for the game, especially in the Far East. "If you look at the history of the game, it's not like other sports where the guys play against each other all the time. Jack (Nicklaus) and Arnold (Palmer) didn't go at it that often," Woods told reporters. "But you know what, if we can do this for the next 10, 15 years, then certainly we can have that type of rivalry.
"I think having matches like this to promote the game of golf is what it's all about. We're trying to promote the game of golf in this region and it's come a long way since my first time here 11 years ago."
McIlroy said the victory over Woods helped ease some of his disappointment after the one-stroke loss to Hanson the day before. "It's been a nice distraction to not dwell on what happened yesterday. I let a great chance to win a golf tournament slip through my fingers," the 23-year-old Northern Irishman said. "Coming to do something like this today has definitely made it a little easier to deal with."
The Ulsterman added that China has a bright future in golf. "I wouldn't be surprised at all if one of the next great players was to come from China," he said. "More and more are playing the game and with it being an Olympic sport, the interest is growing more and more in China."
For being held in an austere Communist country, the "Duel" sported considerable materialistic glitz. Spectators saw stunt planes flying overhead; the players arrived at the course in Rolls Royces; and an array of luxury vehicles - helicopters, Aston Martins and Maseratis with showgirls - were on display.
Woods and McIlroy began the proceedings by striking a gong as fireworks exploded and confetti cannons showered gold flakes over the gallery.
"The bosses here maybe want to sell the villas so they introduce two big stars to come here," said Michael Wong, vice editor-in-chief of China's Golfweek magazine in Beijing, told The Associated Press. "It's a show more than a game."
For those interested in the scoring, McIlroy carded five birdies and the rest pars, while Woods had six birdies and two bogeys.
This is the second straight year McIlroy came to Jinsha Lake Golf Club. In 2011 he played three holes at the course - along with Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Liang Wen-chong -as part of the seven-stop, 18-hole China Golf Challenge.