During a week of low scoring, the Englishman had saved his best for the final round – eight birdies and an eagle, a 10-under 62, to smash the course record by two strokes.
And it still wasn’t enough to win.
World No. 1 McIlroy closed with five consecutive birdies to win by two strokes at 23 under.
“I thought I had you @McIlroyRory!” Rose tweeted afterward. “Class finish mate to a class year.”
Rose’s consolation prize was still substantial. With his runner-up finish in Dubai, the world No. 7 jumped to second in the Race to Dubai, after earning €3,260,635 ($4,231,019) this season.
Eight players had a share of the previous course record at Jumeirah Golf Estates.