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Mahan derails McIlroy's bid for No. 1

Feb. 26, 2012 at 6:12 PM   |   Comments

MARANA, Ariz., Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Hunter Mahan spoiled Rory McIlroy's bid to become world No. 1 Sunday, defeating him 2 & 1 in the final of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Second-ranked McIlroy had set himself up for the top ranking when he staged a furious rally to best world No. 3 Lee Westwood in Sunday morning's semifinal.

He needed only to down Mahan in the afternoon final to claim the top spot, but instead fell victim to the American, who earned $1.4 million for his fourth career PGA win.

Mahan will now likely move to No. 9 in Monday's new world rankings. He reached the championship round by eliminating Mark Wilson 2 & 1 in Sunday's other semifinal.

In McIlroy's victory over Westwood, the Northern Ireland native overcame a three-hole deficit after four holes, winning four of the next five to charge back into a 1-up lead. McIlroy moved 3-up with a birdie at 13, taking advantage of an errant Westwood tee shot.

The latter drained a 20-foot eagle putt at the par-four 15th, but later stumbled on No. 17 and conceded the stirring comeback win to McIlroy.

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