Rory McIlroy Wins British Open by Two Strokes
It wasn’t the runaway rout that his first two Majors had been, but it might have been the sweetest of the three.
On Sunday in Hoylake, Rory McIlroy won the Open Championship, finishing at 17-under to defeat Ricky Fowler and Sergio Garcia by two strokes.
McIlroy becomes the third player in golf history to win three of the four Major championships by age 25. The others are golf royalty – Tiger Woods and Jack Nickalus.
McIlroy jumps from No. 6 in the world to No. 2, and makes good on a bet that his father and three friends made in 2004, that McIlroy would win the British Open before turning 26.
The four men turned a £400 investment into £200,000.
For the first time in PGA history, two consecutive Majors have been won by wire-to-wire winners as McIlroy emulated Germany’s Martin Kaymer, who did the same thing at the US Open in June.
With McIlroy shooting a conservative 1-under 71, Garcia had the best shot to catch him. Garcia fired a 66, and got within two strokes with four holes to go before landing in a bunker on No. 15 and ending up with a bogey.
It’s the fourth time Garcia has finished second at a Major.
McIlroy gave his pursuers a ray of light with consecutive bogeys on No. 5 and 6 and was at even par at the turn. His birdie on No. 16 was the real clincher.
Only three players were within 10 strokes of McIlroy entering the final round, but a full 13 ended up finishing within eight strokes of the top spot as several low rounds were shot, including the US’ Jim Furyk, Australia’s Marc Leishman and Ireland’s Shane Lowry all firing 65s to tie the low round of the tournament.
Garcia came out with guns blazing, firing three birdies in his first five holes and adding an eagle 3 to drop to 6-under through 10.
Fowler shot a bogey-free 67 to tie Garcia at 15-under.
World No. 1 Adam Scott wound up tied for fifth with Leishman at 12-under, meaning he’ll easily hold on to his No. 1 ranking, although McIlroy is definitely pushing hard for it.
Charl Schwartzel and Edoardo Molinari tied for seventh, with Lowry, France’s Victor Dubuission and Graeme McDowell rounding out the Top 10 at 10-under.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson had his best round of the tournament, a 4-under 68, to finish tied for 23rd with Justin Rose at 5-under.
Not nearly as successful was Woods, who shot a 75 to finish in 69th place, his worst-ever finish at a Major where he made the cut. Woods had a double bogey on No. 6 a day after triple bogeying the whole, and at 6-over finished ahead of just three golfers, although one of those was Kaymer, who bombed out with a final round 79.