Rory McIlroy fired a bogey-free final round of 66 to earn his second major title at the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.
The 2011 US Open Champion finished on 13-under par, winning by eight shots from Englishman David Lynn. With this win, McIlroy returns to the top of the world rankings and also tops the Race to Dubai standings.
McIlroy was forced to play 27 holes on Sunday after Saturday’s play was cut short due to bad weather. The Northern Irishman added to the five birdies he fired the previous day at 15 and 16 to complete his third round with a 67.
On the final day, it was England’s Ian Poulter who made a charge, birdieing six of his first seven holes to close the gap to just two shots. But McIlroy responded with birdies of his own at holes two and three and after Poulter made three straight bogeys from the 13th, the title was Rory’s.
“I don’t think I have let it sink in yet – I am speechless,” said McIlroy, the first Briton to claim the US PGA title since Jim Barnes won the first two tournaments in 1916 and 1919 when it was a matchplay event.
“It was a great round of golf,” he added. “The gameplan was just to play solid. I got off to a bit of a shaky start, but settled into it and I thought my putting today was phenomenal.”
“Thanks dad and thanks mum – I’m sure she’s watching at home. I had a good feeling at the start, but I never imagined doing this. It means an awful lot to look at the names on that trophy and put mine alongside them.”
Lynn’s dreamy second-place finish moves him into the world’s top 50 and earns him a place at next year’s Masters.
“I got myself into the zone on Saturday and I was feeling comfortable on Sunday – it is all a bit surreal at the moment,” said the 38-year-old Stoke-based player, who finished 53rd in only previous appearance in a major, the 2003 Open.
“I knew a top ten finish would get me back to the US PGA next year, but to be honest, but I was just trying to go out and play in the final round. Then when I finished I did my interview with Sky TV, and they told me I was in the Masters, which is just a dream come true, obviously. That’s just amazing.”
Tiger Woods’ charge on Sunday was halted with bogeys on both the back nine’s par-fives, eventually settling for tied-11th. Despite his poor finish, Woods was quick to praise the magic of McIlroy.
“He’s very good. We all know the talent he has,” Woods said. “He went through a little spell this year, and I think that was good for him. We all go through those spells in our careers. He’s got all the talent in the world to do what he’s doing. And this is the way that Rory can play. When he gets it going, it’s pretty impressive to watch.”
This week was also the final qualification week for the US Ryder Cup team. Playing in the final group, Bo Van Pelt needed a runner-up finish to earn his place automatically but shot a final round of 74 to finish tied 18th. That means that the eight automatic places go to Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson.
Captain Davis Love III will have four picks. Among those looking for selection will be Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk and Dustin Johnson. The European Ryder Cup team selection cut-off point is after the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in two weeks time.