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12th Jun 2022

Rory McIlroy could not resist Greg Norman reminder after Canadian Open victory

Patrick McCarry

Rory McIlroy

Sharp as a tack.

Rory McIlroy captured his 21st PGA Tour victory after a sensational round of 62, at the St George Golf and Country Club in Toronto, that somehow included to par misses from three feet.

The four-time major winner has been close but not close enough in 2022, at at both the Masters and US PGA, but he pulled out a superb round on Sunday to see off in-form stars Justin Thomas, Sam Burns and Tony Finau.

McIlroy looked to be on course for a 60, 59 or even better after he went around the front nine in just 29 strokes, then added birdies on 10, 11 and 12.

There were wobbles on the 13th and 15th, book-ending a clutch up and down for par. Rory McIlroy needed to be at his best to build up a three shot lead, heading to the 13th tee. By the time he stood on the 17th tee, he was back tied for the lead.

That was due to his bogey on 13, a birdie miss on 15 and another bogey after finding the bunker on the par-three 16th. McIlroy needed something big to get momentum going his way again. It arrived with a sublime approach to the 17th green that had the Toronto crowd – full of Irish fans – in raptures.

Rory McIlroy gives Greg Norman a reminder

McIlroy would drop that short birdie putt to re-take the lead, and Thomas then bogeyed to give him a two-shot cushion.

Feeling it again, the 32-year-old arrowed in another great iron approach and set up a four-foot putt for birdie. Tony Finau made him earn it with a birdie to finish on -17.

McIlroy could two-putt and still win, but he only needed one. He had successfully defended the title he won in 2019, and it was No.21 on a tour he has vociferously defended amid major, money-wafting moves from LIV Golf.

On the same week as many leading golfers abandoned the tour and jumped ship to the Saudi-funded LIV Golf competition, McIlroy was well aware of his golfing history. Greg Norman, the two-time Open champion, is chief executive of LIV Golf, and had 20 PGA titles in his storied career.

“This is a day I’ll remember for a long, long time. 21st PGA Tour win – one more than someone else!

“[Knowing] that gave me a little extra incentive today and I’m happy to get it done.”

21 for McIlroy and 20 for ‘The Great White Shark’ Greg Norman. For those that hold the PGA Tour dear, like Rory McIlroy clearly does, it means something.

Just days away from the US Open, at Brookline, the Northern Irishman is in good form and well set to take a run at that fifth major dream.

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