Rory McIlroy believes he can still win the Race to Dubai despite his Volvo World Match Play Championship exit in Spain.

The Holywood kid, 20, won two of his three matches but could only finish second in his group behind the impressive Masters champion Angel Cabrera who faces England’s Ross Fisher in today’s semi-finals with Robert Allenby and Anthony Kim squaring off in the other half of the draw.

McIlroy rediscovered his putting touch late in the week to beat Simon Dyson  two up and keep his slim chances of making the semi-finals alive.

But while he crushed a misfiring Henrik Stenson by four holes, Cabrera destroyed Dyson seven up to progress with a better 'holes won' tally that the Ulster star.

McIlroy will now finish tied for fifth and close the gap on Race to Dubai pace-setters Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer after picking up €150,000, of which €107,575 counts towards the money list.

McIlroy said: “I didn’t start holing putts until today really and played well in both sessions. Henrik struggled and I’ll finish second in the group so it is not too bad for the Race to Dubai.

“I did what I could today but Cabrera has just played too well against Simon this afternoon. I played well but all the damage was done yesterday.”

McIlroy holed just one decent putt as he crashed to Cabrera by five holes on Thursday.

But he found his touch on the greens to beat Dyson with birdies at the 17th and 18th and then putted superbly to see off Stenson for the second time in matchplay combat this year.

Complaining of feeling “wooden” with the putter recently, McIlroy has worked hard to get more feel on the greens thanks to some Bob Rotella audiobooks and a quicker routine.

He said: “I’ve got a bit more flow back in my putting, just taking one look at my target and hitting it. That’s all I can do.

“I trust my line and hit it and if it does in it goes in, it goes in.

“I’m looking forward to the next three weeks and I’ve still got a great chance in the Race to Dubai with the HSBC CHampions, Hong Kong and the Dubai World Championship to come.”

Fisher can now gatecrash the Race to Dubai party after clinching his second matchplay semi-final appearance of the season.

The 28 year old qualified thanks to one hole win over India’s Jeev Milkha Singh but faces a massive battle against big-hitting Masters champion Cabrera.

Beaten by Paul Casey in the WGC Accenture Match Play semi-finals in February , he came close to winning the US Open and the Open and believes it’s time to win again after a 16 month winless streak.

Fisher said: “The Race to Dubai is a huge thing, a massive thing. I’m a fair bit behind Westy, Martin Kaymer and Rory. Obviously it’s great for me that I’ve made it to the semis and they haven’t.”

Kim looked certain to cruise into the last four but needed a career best, 274 yard three wood to four feet at the 18th to only lose by three holes to Scott Strange and send the Australian home by the slimmest of margins on the holes won rule.

Allenby topped group B with a two up win over Oliver Wilson but refused to comment on his controversial remarks about Kim at the Presidents Cup.

The Australians made late-night drinking allegations about his 24-year-old opponent, calling him the “loosest cannon on that team” and the “new John Daly” after friends told him that Kim had come in “sideways” at 4am the night before their singles clash

“Obviously he kicked my ass there,” Allenby said,  adding: “I’ve been around this game for 18 years and said a lot of things and regretted a lot of things.... I’ve apologised for the way it’s come out and it’s a dead issue in both Anthony and my books.”