SHANGHAI (AP) — Rory McIlroy returns to competition as the defending BMW Masters champion determined to end his best season as the European Tour No. 1.
McIlroy has joined 10 of his victorious European Ryder Cup teammates, captain Jose Maria Olazabal, and 28 of the leading 30 on the European money list for the tournament starting Thursday on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course at Lake Malaren Golf Club.
McIlroy captured the inaugural tournament in a playoff with Anthony Kim last year, but this time it's sanctioned and the sixth-to-last on the 2012 schedule.
He's scheduled to play in four, hoping to do well enough to emulate Luke Donald's feat last year of winning the money titles on the European and U.S. PGA Tours.
He leads both for now, but it's the Race to Dubai money list he dearly seeks after being runner-up in 2009 and 2011.