Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy produced a superb final round of 66 to win the USPGA Championship at Kiawah Island by eight shots from David Lynn of England.
It was a second Major victory for the talented 23-year-old and, like his win in the 2011 US Open; he finished eight shots clear of the field. It was a championship record winning margin.
The third round at Kiawah had to be completed on Sunday morning due to a weather delay on Saturday afternoon and, as the players resumed their rounds, McIlroy was in a tie for the lead on six-under-par with Vijay Singh.
Despite missing a number of chances on the back nine of his third round, McIlroy was able to build a commanding lead as his nearest challengers stuttered. He posted a 67 to finish 54 holes on seven-under-par, three clear of the field.
In the final round, Ian Poulter made an early run at McIlroy with five birdies in his first five holes. He then made another at the 7th to move from six shots behind to just one. But he was unable to keep that phenomenal run going and McIlroy was able to move clear again with birdies of his own at the 2nd, 3rd and 7th.
The young Northern Irishman didn’t drop a single shot during his final round and he pulled steadily further away from the other protagonists.
In the end he finished eight clear and, with the victory moved back to Number 1 on the Official World Golf Ranking.
“It was a great round of golf and I’m speechless,” he said. “I allowed myself the luxury of walking up 18 knowing that I was going to win. I enjoyed the moment, just let it all sink in.”
As Poulter faded, it was another Englishman who emerged from the pack to claim second place. David Lynn closed with a 68 to finish as runner-up. It was only the second time the 38-year-old had played in a Major championship and he secured the biggest cheque of his career – $865,000.
Although a little disappointed he couldn’t keep his early charge at the lead going, Ian Poulter could console himself with the fact his performance has secured his Ryder Cup place.
“It was a great day and it was a dream start,” he said. “Just a shame I couldn’t finish it off.”
It was another excellent tournament for the Europeans, seven of the top 10 finishers came from this side of the pond.
Justin Rose was tied for third with Poulter and Carl Pettersen of Sweden. Defending champion Keegan Bradley was also in that tie.
Jamie Donaldson of Wales was tied for seventh along with Sweden’s Peter Hanson.
Tiger Woods struggled on the final day. Closing with rounds of 74 and 72, he fell down the leaderboard to end the week in a seven-way tie for 11th that included Graeme McDowell and Adam Scott.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South Carolina
Aug 9-12, purse $8,000,000, par 72
1 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 67 75 67 66 275 $1,445,000
2 David Lynn (Eng) 73 74 68 68 283 $865,000
T3 Justin Rose (Eng) 69 79 70 66 284 $384,500
T3 Keegan Bradley (USA) 68 77 71 68 284 $384,500
T3 Ian Poulter (Eng) 70 71 74 69 284 $384,500
T3 Carl Pettersen (Swe) 66 74 72 72 284 $384,500
T7 Blake Adams (USA) 71 72 75 67 285 $226,000
T7 Jamie Donaldson (Wal) 69 73 73 70 285 $226,000
T7 Peter Hanson (Swe) 69 75 70 71 285 $226,000
T7 Steve Stricker (USA) 74 73 67 71 285 $226,000
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage