Rory McIlroy overtook England’s Luke Donald at the top of the World Golf Rankings with victory at the PGA Tour's Honda Classic.
The Northern Irishman shot a one-under par 69 to win by two shots on 12-under, holding off a final-day charge from Tiger Woods and becoming the second-youngest player after Woods to reach World No.1.
Former World No.1 Woods shot an eight-under par 62, his best-ever final round on the PGA Tour, to finish tied for second with countryman Tom Gillis.
Lee Westwood also had a superb Sunday, shooting a seven-under par 63 to finish fourth while fellow Englishman Justin Rose finished tied-fifth.
McIlroy struggled with his accuracy on the front nine, having to hole a number of lengthy par putts before birdieing the eighth. In fact, he didn’t miss a putt inside of 10 feet for the entire round. He bogeyed the 12th but got that shot back with a birdie at the 13th.
With the pressure mounting, McIlroy found the bunker on the treacherous par-three 17th but played an exquisite splash shot to set up a tap-in par. A safe approach to the last gave him two putts to win but he only needed one.
"It's very special," said McIlroy. "When I was 10 or 11 I was interviewed and said I wanted to be the best player in the world and I wanted to win majors."
"It was tough today especially seeing Tiger make a charge. I knew par golf would probably be good enough and that's what I was trying to do. My short game felt great all week and definitely saved me a few times today."
Woods’ final round burst into action with an eagle at the third followed by birdies at the fifth, seventh and 11th.
He got through the first two holes of the infamous Bear Trap with pars, a three-hole stretch starting at the 15th that ranked as the hardest three-hole stretch in 2011 on the PGA Tour. But he birdied 17 then pured a five-iron to the last to set up an eagle chance that he converted.
“When I saw the wind was howling, I played well in Australia [when the wind was strong] and figured there was no reason why I couldn’t do it again. It felt normal. I was just trying to make my way up the board, it didn’t feel any different.”
Woods moves up to 16th in the world golf rankings while McIlroy now tops the Fed-Ex Cup standings.
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