PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — His greatest swing was followed by his largest drive, both establishing birdies, and from there Rory McIlroy knew how one can end.
Out of the blue staked to a one-shot lead, McIlroy had a one hundred twenty five-yard walk along the water to the seventeenth hole to face an island that by no means seems to be smaller than on Sunday at The Players Championship, adopted by the toughest hole on the TPC Sawgrass with water down your complete left aspect.
“Simply make three more good swings … and this thing is yours,” McIlroy stored telling himself.
He delivered in a serious solution to win the subsequent neatest thing to major.
McIlroy made two late birdies to regain the lead, was at his greatest when the strain was the very best, and he closed with a 2-beneath 70 for a one-shot victory over Jim Furyk in his tenth look at The Players Championship.
“To step up and make those three good swings, it’s very satisfying figuring out that it’s in there when it must be,” McIlroy stated.
McIlroy couldn’t afford a mistake over the final hour because of Furyk, the forty eight-yr-previous former Ryder Cup captain who almost pulled off a stunner. Furyk, one of the final players to qualify for the strongest subject in golf, capped off a sixty seven with a 7-iron into the 18th so good that he started walking when he hit it. The ball plopped down three ft from the opening for a birdie to take the lead.
However not for lengthy.
Coming off a careless bogey on the 14th, McIlroy thought he was in hassle when his tee shot went properly to the proper toward a clump of native grass. He was fortunate it came down into the bunker, and from there he drilled a 6-iron from one hundred eighty yards.
“Some golf shot there,” Harry Diamond, his caddie and greatest pal, stated because the ball was within the air.
McIlroy referred to as it “the most effective shot of the day, by far,” and it settled 15 ft behind the opening for a birdie to tie. Then, he blasted a 347-yard drive — the longest of the day on the par-5 sixteenth — into a great lie within the rough that left him a 9-iron to twenty ft for a two-putt birdie and the lead.
Most essential, he discovered dry land on the seventeenth with a 9-iron, and relied on a memory from 10 years ago in Hong Kong — decide a target and swing arduous — to hammer a tee shot down the 18th fairway to arrange the win.
He completed at 16-beneath 272 and earned $2.25 million, so far the most important winner’s examine in golf.
The timing was splendid. McIlroy had not completed worse than a tie for sixth in his 5 previous begins this yr — three of them enjoying in the ultimate group — with no trophy to point out for it. And one month away is the Masters, the ultimate piece for McIlroy to get the profession Grand Slam.
It wasn’t straightforward. Eight players had at the very least a share of the lead sooner or later, and a dozen gamers have been…