Hanson trying to overtake McIlroy in European money race, needs big finish

Peter Hanson
Getty Images
Peter Hanson could be the new European money leader with a win at the WGC-HSBC Champions.
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

Series: European Tour

Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 8:36 p.m.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Race to Dubai on the European Tour heads for the home stretch, and Rory McIlroy is sitting out one of the richer events this week in the WGC-HSBC Champions.

McIlroy is trying to match Luke Donald's historic feat last year, when he became the first player to win the money title on the PGA Tour and the European Tour in the same season.

McIlroy already has wrapped up the PGA Tour money title with just over $8 million, and the European race figured to come down to McIlroy and Justin Rose.

That was before Peter Hanson held off McIlroy last week to win the BMW Masters.

McIlroy's lead on the money list in Europe is just over $1 million and a win this week at Mission Hills in the final World Golf Championship would be enough for the Swede to take over the lead.

''I am moving closer to Rory in The Race to Dubai, and the fact he is not at Mission Hills this week gives me a chance to close the gap even more,'' Hanson said. ''Hopefully, I can keep this form going and be up there again Sunday because I will need to keep playing like I did last week to have a chance of catching him, given how well he is playing this year.''

McIlroy, who won an 18-hole exhibition against Tiger Woods on Monday, plans to play Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai to finish the year.

It already has been an amazing season for Hanson, who started the year at No. 42 in the world and had been trying for years to establish himself deep into the top 50 so he could be a regular in all the majors and perhaps do well enough to become a PGA Tour member. He lives at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla., with his wife and 5-year-old daughter.

He has secured PGA Tour membership for 2013, primarily through a pair of top-5s in the WGCs and two top-10s in the majors. Hanson has won twice, in the Dutch Open and last week in Shanghai. And he made his second straight Ryder Cup team, even though he played only two matches.

Rose also is playing in the HSBC Champions and could overtake McIlroy with a win.