Published Sunday, 25 November 2012
Rory McIlroy and his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki with his latest trophies (© Getty)
McIlroy had found himself two behind as Justin Rose put the finishing touches to a dazzling course record 62, the lowest round of his European Tour career by two.
But Northern Ireland's world number one, tied for the lead with second-ranked Luke Donald overnight, was not to be denied.
The 23-year-old chipped close on the long 14th, pitched to three feet at the next, made a 20-foot effort on the 16th and went one ahead with a six-foot putt on the short 17th.
Rose did miraculously well to two-putt the par five last for birdie from around 100 feet, but McIlroy matched it to win by two on the Earth Course. He shot 66 for 23 under to end 2012 with a win.
The DP World Tour Championship marks his fifth victory in a year which saw him became world number one.
McIlroy's year also included a second major title - like the first by eight shots - and the same money list double on both sides of the Atlantic achieved by Donald last year.
On Sunday, the Holywood golfer summed up his achievements in 2012 in one word: "Unbelievable".
He said: "I saw Justin make a charge - I heard the cheers - but to finish like that was great.
"I could not have wished for any better. To back up 2011 with another major and to be part of an unbelievable story at the Ryder Cup has made it an incredible year.
"But hopefully I can emulate it or do even better next year!"
By adding the title to his European Tour money list crown McIlroy earned himself a combined £1.46m. The USPGA champion is also rumoured to be closing on a new sponsorship deal with Nike worth a reported £156m over the next 10 years.
After joining in the water on the last Donald shared third place with South African Charl Schwartzel.