Rory McIlroy tees himself up perfectly for US Open by claiming huge seven-shot victory at RBC Canadian Open
- Rory McIlroy produced one of the great final rounds of year at Canadian Open
- McIlroy posted a remarkable 61 to finish seven shots clear of the chasing pack
- Shane Lowry shot 67 on Sunday to finish tied second for the tournament
- Graeme McDowell earned himself an Open spot in his hometown of Portrush
What a day for Northern Ireland. Not only a runaway victory for Rory McIlroy with one of the great final rounds of the year at the RBC Canadian Open, but Graeme McDowell earned himself one of the precious spots on offer into the Open in his hometown of Portrush next month.
Just to complete the picture for the men in green, Irishman Shane Lowry shot 67 to finish tied second.
All of McIlroy’s well-documented problems when playing in the final group on Sunday were consigned to history emphatically during the course of a stunning seven stroke success. So good was he in claiming his first victory since turning 30 last month that long before the end, the predominant topic of conversation had turned to whether he could become the first European golfer to shoot 59 on American soil.
Rory McIlroy produced a magnificent final round to win by seven shots at the Canadian Open
The Northern Irishman shot a splendid round of 61 on Sunday ahead of next week’s US Open
1) Rory McIroy – 22 under
T2) Shane Lowry – 15 under
T2) Webb Simpson – 15 under
T4) Matt Kuchar – 13 under
T4) Brandt Snedeker – 13 under
6) Adam Hadwin – 12 under
7) Im Sung-jae – 11 under
T8) Danny Willett – 10 under
T8) Henrik Stenson – 10 under
T8) Graeme McDowell – 10 under
His hopes were still alive playing the 18th, following a marvellous eagle three at the 17th, where his approach finished tap-in distance away. One more birdie was needed. In the end, he bogeyed it and had to ‘settle’ for a 61 for his second win of the season, following his victory in the Players Championship in March.
‘Rory, Rory,’ shouted the crowd. Not only did he equal the lowest round of his career, he smashed the tournament record, and achieved the largest margin of victory in the event for 67 years.
‘This feels awesome,’ said McIlroy. ‘This is a huge tournament to win but going forward, to play so well in the final round will give me such confidence.’
Three spots were on offer into the Open and 39 year old McDowell claimed one of them in style, holing from 30ft on the 18th for an unlikely par. ‘Is that roar for G-Mac?’ asked Rory, who was playing the 15th hole at the time. Indeed it was, as the fabulous reception chimed with the universal worldwide acclaim that will follow the news that McDowell has made it.
‘All week, people have been reminding me about what is at stake, so there was never any chance that I was going to forget about it,’ said G-Mac. ‘Of course, it’s a tremendous relief to have finally secured my place. I’d have been inconsolable if I’d been on the outside looking in.’
Following his seven-shot victory on Sunday, McIlroy admitted that it ‘feels awesome’
Irishman Shane Lowry recorded 65 in his final round to finish tied second at Canadian Open
For both men, the tremendous news could hardly have been better timed, with the United States Open beginning at Pebble Beach on Thursday. McDowell, of course, won America’s national title the last time it was staged on the Monterey Pensinsula in 2010. For Rory, this was the perfect result as he seeks to do something about his dismal record of missing the halfway cut for the last three years in a row.
McIlroy has been in something of a slump since failing to complete the career Grand Slam at the Masters in April. Two weeks ago, he missed his first halfway cut of the season at the Memorial Tournament.
‘I went home and worked hard on my driving and wedge game and I guess I turned what was a negative into a wonderful positive,’ he said.
McIlroy began the final round tied for the lead with two other experienced performers in Matt Kuchar and former US Open Champion, Webb Simpson. As good as they are, they can’t live with Rory when he’s on his game. Five birdies in his first seven holes, and both were history.
Graeme McDowell earned one of the spots on offer at the Open in his hometown of Portrush
Long before McIlroy even began, Brooks Koepka was on his way home. Isn’t this always the way with the mercurial 29 year old Floridian? Put him in a regular tournament, he can barely conceal his disdain. Such was the case in this instance, as he double bogeyed the 18th for a 72 to finish tied 48th.
Anyone else, and you’d be rather worried for his chances of becoming the first man since immigrant Scot Willie Anderson in 1903-05 to win the US Open three years in a row. This, however, is the man who has won four of the last eight majors he has entered – twice the amount of PGA Tour victories he has mustered.
‘I couldn’t care less about the result,’ said Koepka, with trademark honesty. ‘This was all about warming up for the US Open.’
World number two Dustin Johnson – runner-up in the first two majors of the season – shot a final round 69 to sneak into the top 20.
Brooks Koepka – chasing his third US Open victory in a row next week – finished tied 48th
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