Rory McIlroy put on a sensational display at Congressional Country Club to make it back-to-back US Open victories for players from Northern Ireland. Graeme McDowell took the title in 2010 at Pebble Beach.
The 22-year-old from Hollywood, completed four rounds of near perfect golf to claim the year’s second Major by eight strokes from Jason Day, it was a second consecutive runner’s-up Major finish for the young Australian.
Banishing memories of his last round Masters meltdown in April, McIlroy extended his eight shot overnight advantage with a birdie at the first hole of his final 18. He never looked like relinquishing his lead and, as the round progressed, his march to victory became a procession.
Finishing on 16-under-par, McIlroy set a US Open scoring record, just one of numerous records that fell to the Northern Irishman through the week. Amongst them, he became the youngest man to win the US Open since Bobby Jones in 1923.
“I’m just so happy to be holding this trophy,” McIlroy said. “I know how good Tiger was in 2000 to win by 15 in Pebble. I was trying to go out there and emulate him in some way. I played great for four days, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Comparisons are, inevitably, being made between McIlroy and the former World Number 1 and Woods was among those who sent messages of congratulations to the new champion.
“What a performance from start to finish,” Woods said in a statement. “Enjoy the win. Well done.”
Jason Day came out on top in the week’s other competition – the battle for second place. He played a fine closing round of 68 to finish on eight-under-par, two clear of a group of four players that included England’s Lee Westwood.
With the victory McIlroy has climbed to fourth on the Official World Golf Ranking meaning European players once again occupy the top four spots. Jason Day has climbed into the top-10 in ninth place.
Congressional Country Club, Maryland
June 16-19, purse $7,500,000, par 71
1 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 65 66 68 69 268 $1,440,000
2 Jason Day (Aus) 71 72 65 68 276 $865,000
T3 Kevin Chappell (USA) 76 67 69 66 278 $364,241
T3 Robert Garrigus (USA) 70 70 68 70 278 $364,241
T3 Lee Westwood (Eng) 75 68 65 70 278 $364,241
T3 Y.E. Yang (Kor) 68 69 70 71 278 $364,241
T7 Sergio Garcia (Esp) 69 71 69 70 279 $228,416
T7 Peter Hanson (Swe) 72 71 69 67 279 $228,416
T9 Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 69 73 71 67 280 $192,962
T9 Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 68 74 72 66 280 $192,962
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only
The Amateur Championship: Bryden Macpherson wins