Golf Asia

Wells Fargo Championsh­ip

Mcilroy Snaps Title Drought With Third Win at Quail Hollow


Rory Mcilroy snapped an 18-month US PGA victory drought, overcoming a tense last-hole dilemma to win his third Wells Fargo Championsh­ip by one stroke.

The 32-year-old defied windy conditions to win his 19th career US PGA title, firing a final-round three-under par 68 to finish 72 holes on 10-under 274.

It was the first victory by Mcilroy since the WGC HSBC Champions at Shanghai in November 2019. Said Mcilroy, “It has felt like a long time since that victory in China in 2019. The world is a completely different place than it was before.”

Mexico’s Abraham Ancer was second on 275 after a closing 66 with Norway’s Viktor Hovland and American Keith Mitchell sharing third on 276 and 2019 US Open champion Gary Woodland fifth on 277.

The triumph was also Mcilroy’s first as a father, his wife Erica having given birth to daughter Poppy last year. Mcilroy also won at Quail Hollow in 2010 for his first US PGA triumph and again in 2015, when he fired a course-record 61 in the third round and cruised to a seven-stroke victory. This one was a battle to the end. Leading by two strokes at the 18th tee, Mcilroy hooked his drive into the left rough near a water hazard. With a tricky sidehill lie, he took a penalty drop, then smashed an 8-iron onto the green and two-putted from 44 feet for bogey and the long-sought victory.

Mcilroy pumped his right fist as a cheering crowd, among the biggest since the pandemic struck last March, began to chant his name. He was inspired to throw his ball into the crowd.

“It’s just awesome to play in front of these people again,” Mcilroy said. “To bring the best out of myself, I need this. I feed off the energy so much, maybe no place more so than this. They carried me though today.”

The World number 15 was left alone in the lead at 9-under when Woodland made bogeys at the par-4 12th and par-3 13th.

But Mitchell matched Mcilroy at the top with a nine-foot birdie putt at 13 and Ancer joined them with a late charge, holing a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-3 17th.

Mcilroy answered the challenge at the par-4 14th, driving into a greenside bunker, blasting his second shot within five feet of the hole and sinking the birdie putt to reclaim the solo lead at 10-under.

Mcilroy found a bunker with his second at the par-5 15th but blasted out three feet past the cup before sinking the birdie putt to lead by two at 11-under with three holes remaining.

That gave Mcilroy 49 consecutiv­e putts made inside six feet for the week in as many attempts.

Mcilroy has won four US PGA events at least twice, including the PGA Championsh­ip and Tour Championsh­ip, but this is the first one he has taken three times.

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