27 Feb 2012

McIlroy misses out on world number one ranking after WGC loss

11:59 am on 27 February 2012

The American golfer Hunter Mahan clinched his fourth PGA Tour title with a 2 and 1 victory over world number two Rory McIlroy in the final of the WGC Match Play Championship.

With McIlroy initially failing to replicate the stunning form he produced earlier in the day on the way to a 3 and 1 semi-final win over third-ranked Briton Lee Westwood, Mahan took advantage with a seven-birdie display.

The 29-year-old never trailed after going ahead at the par-three sixth, and he fended off a McIlroy fightback after the turn before ending the match with a comfortable two-putt par on the 17th green.

Mahan, ranked 22nd in the world, added a second World Golf Championships title to his career resume, having previously won the 2010 Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone.

Northern Irishman McIlroy, like Mahan appearing in his first Match Play final, would have replaced Britain's Luke Donald as world number one when the rankings had he claimed his first WGC crown.