Thursday 8 December 2016

Magnificent McIlroy hits top form in US to seize $11.5m jackpot

William S Callahan

Published 26/09/2016 | 02:30

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates a birdie putt to defeat Ryan Moore on the fourth playoff hole to win the TOUR Championship and clinch the FedExCup. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates a birdie putt to defeat Ryan Moore on the fourth playoff hole to win the TOUR Championship and clinch the FedExCup. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy began the final round of the Tour Championship with the intention of keeping a watchful eye on the performance of overnight leader Dustin Johnson - and he may have struck an early Ryder Cup blow for Europe with a stunning victory which this morning sees him $11.5 million (€10.25m) richer.

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But as Johnson imploded, McIlroy pounced and, after four thrilling play-off holes, overcame the challenge of Ryan Moore and Kevin Chappell to capture the tournament and the FedEx Cup.

McIlroy, two shots adrift of Johnson when he started his final round, produced some typical Rory magic by holing his 137-yard approach shot to the 16th for an eagle two to reach 11-under par.

He finished with a flourish with birdie on the last for 64, although he could have won the tournament there and then when his eagle putt just lipped out.

The birdie left him and Moore on -12 while, behind them, Chappell, playing alongside Johnson, bogeyed the 17th, only his third of the week.

At that stage Johnson's chances of winning the tournament had evaporated but he could still win the FedEx Cup.

Drama

The drama continued as Johnson holed out for a 73, the highest score of the day, and -5.

Chappell, on -12, had a 23-foot putt for birdie to close out the title, but it came up short and he got his par to join McIlroy and Moore in a playoff. Chappell was eliminated at the first extra hole, but McIlroy and Moore went to four holes before a birdie three on the 16th gave Rory the prize.

"It was incredible. I just wanted to go out here and play the way I've been playing. I feel like my game's coming together at the perfect time," added the Holywood man of his Hollywood ending.

Meanwhile, Alexander Levy of France beat England's Ross Fisher on the second playoff hole to win the Porsche European Open at Bad Griesbach. The two players finished at -19 for the tournament which was reduced to 54 holes after fog delays.

Fisher shot 64 to haul himself alongside Levy, who closed on 69, but the Frenchman got the job done in the playoff.

Paul Dunne, the only Irishman to make the cut, earned €8,000 for tied-49th after his closing 73.

He is now 110th in the Race to Dubai rankings, the last position which guarantees a Tour card for next year, so Dunne needs to push on from there in the coming weeks.

Irish Independent

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