Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland carded a closing 70 to win The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass by a single shot from veteran Jim Furyk.
Rory McIlroy wins The Players Championship
Playing in his 10th Players Championship, Rory McIlroy birdied two of the last four holes to win at TPC Sawgrass and claim the huge $2.25 million first prize.
On a dramatic final day at Sawgrass it was Jim Furyk who set the clubhouse total at 15-under-par after a tremendous shot into the home hole resulted in a closing birdie and a final round of 67.
At that stage, Furyk was in the lead but McIlroy was soon to change things at the top. The Northern Irishman had bogeyed the 14th but he responded superbly with a birdie on the 15th. He then hit a trademark monster drive on the par-5 16th to leave himself with just a nine-iron into the green. Two putts from there and another gain saw him climb to the top of the board.
He found the green safely on the notorious par-3 17th and then closed it out solidly on the tough home hole to win The Players Championship.
“This is probably the deepest field of the year, with so much on the line,” McIlroy, 29, said. “I’m thankful it was my turn this week… I almost liked today because it was tough. I knew guys weren’t going to get away from us. I knew there was some chances coming up. I stayed patient. Anytime I looked at a leaderboard, I was pleasantly surprised because I hadn’t fallen two, three, four shots behind.”
Furyk only just snuck into the tournament one week ago and, although he was disappointed to narrowly miss out on a memorable win, he could console himself with the fact that the second-place finish has earned him a spot in the WGC-Match Play in two week’s time.
“A shot here, a shot there, maybe could have been a little different,” Furyk said. “But ultimately, left it all out there. It was also nice to get in contention, to get under the heat, to have to hit shots under a lot of pressure, and then to respond well to that and hit some good golf shots. It’ll be a confidence boost going forward.”
England’s Eddie Pepperell enjoyed a superb first outing at Sawgrass. He made four birdies in five holes towards the end of his round, including one on the 17th. He closed with a brilliant 66 to to tie with Jhonattan Vegas for third place.
Jon Rahm of Spain started with a one-shot lead but fell away with bogeys early in his round and then at the end with dropped shots at the 12th and 17th where he found the water. A closing 76 saw him drop into a tie for 12th.
Tommy Fleetwood also had a disappointing Sunday, closing with 73 to finish tied fifth.
The Players Championship
TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Purse: $12,500,000 Par: 72
1 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 67 65 70 70 272 $2,250,000
2 Jim Furyk (USA) 71 64 71 67 273 $1,350,000
T3 Eddie Pepperell (Eng) 72 68 68 66 274 $725,000
T3 Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 72 69 67 66 274 $725,000
T5 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 65 67 70 73 275 $456,250
T5 Dustin Johnson (USA) 69 68 69 69 275 $456,250
T5 Brandt Snedeker (USA) 69 72 65 69 275 $456,250
T8 Jason Day (Aus) 70 66 68 72 276 $350,000
T8 Brian Harman (USA) 66 69 71 70 276 $350,000
T8 Hideki Matsuyama (Jap) 71 72 66 67 276 $350,000
T8 Justin Rose (Eng) 74 66 68 68 276 $350,000
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage