Rory McIlroy clinches $18m Tour Championship after wild finish at East Lake 4 weeks ago

Rory McIlroy clinches $18m Tour Championship after wild finish at East Lake

"Would you believe it?"

Separated by six strokes before they teed off, Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler had varying rounds at the Tour Championship, and it made for a captivating finale to the PGA Tour season.

Advertisement

Rory McIlroy produced a final round masterclass in clutch striking and big shots under pressure to claim his third ever Tour Championship, and a first prize of $18 million.

McIlroy began his final round six shots back from Scheffler, the world number one. The Holywood native carded a stunning 63 for his third round, but the American rallied late in his round to card 66.

Both men bogeyed the first hole of their final round but, while Scheffler continued to struggle, McIlroy got back in his third round groove. He birdied the third, then birdied three consecutive holes, at the 5th, 6th and 7th, and found himself tied with Scheffler after just seven holes.

Advertisement

Scottie Scheffler finally gets going

Scheffler claimed his maiden major victory at the US Masters, earlier this year, and he showed similar tenacity after his ropey start at East Lake. He birdied the 8th to reclaim his solo lead, but McIlroy joined him on -21 after a birdie on 15.

Scheffler was scrambling like a champ, out there, and his ability to get pars from tricky positions saw him in the solo lead again, at the 14th, when McIlroy out-drove him (again) only to get loose with his iron approach then flop on his wedge. In the end, he needed a solid bogey putt to minimise the damage.

Advertisement

Rory McIlroy adrenaline pumping

One shot back from Scheffler again, Rory McIlroy was just inside the American on the par-three 15th but, when his playing partner had to settle for par, the four-time major champion rolled in a 22-footer.

Advertisement

McIlroy was tied for the lead with three holes to play, but found the bunker on 15 and - adrenaline pumping - shot over the green. He then rattled the flag-stick with his chip from off the back of the green. That stroke of luck was gratefully accepted as McIlroy rolled in a par putt from eight feet away, moments after Scheffler bogeyed.

Sungae Im, who overcame a double bogey in his final round, was cranking up the pressure on the leaders with a birdie on the 17th to go to -20. For Scheffler, he had led all week and was now one back with two to play.

The 17th saw Scheffler completely push a seven-footer that would have tied him for the lead. McIlroy led by one, on the 18th tee, but nerves betrayed the final pair with both of their second shots on the par-five hole. Scheffler landed in a greenside bunker while McIlroy pinged one right at the grandstand and was fortunate to get a free drop so he could make a swing.

He chipped to the middle of the green and had a tap-in for par that secured him $18 million and his third ever Tour Championship.


Advertisement

"I've always loved coming to Ireland."

At the JP McManus Pro-Am, Tiger Woods spoke about why he loves playing golf in Ireland and his favourite courses to play.