action:article | category:SPORTS05 | adString:SPORTS05 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » Golf

August 10. 2014 10:37PM

McIlroy battles back to claim fourth major with PGA title


Rory McIlroy catches the Wanamaker Trophy as it slips out of the hands of PGA president Ted Bishop when presented after winning the 2014 PGA Championship golf tournament at Valhalla Golf Club. (Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Pre-tournament favorite Rory McIlroy recovered from a stumbling start to overcome a series of challengers and clinch his fourth major title by a shot at the PGA Championship on Sunday.

A stroke in front of the chasing pack overnight, the world’s top-ranked player lost the lead but regained control after the turn, signing off with a three-under-par 68 at Valhalla Golf Club for a 16-under total of 268.

Phil Mickelson, the 2005 winner, birdied 18 to finish alone in second with a closing 66, with Swede Henrik Stenson (66) and American Rickie Fowler (68) a stroke back in third.

“I didn’t think in my wildest dreams I’d have a summer like this,” British Open champion McIlroy told CBS Sports after being presented with the coveted Wanamaker Trophy, which he hoisted high in celebration.

“I’ve just played the best golf of my life and just really gutted it out today. It was a little different from the previous major wins that I’ve had and I think I showed a lot of guts out there today to get this job done.”

Trailing by three at one point, McIlroy got within a stroke of the lead with a spectacular eagle at the par-five 10th where he hit his second shot from 281 yards to seven feet, before effectively sealing the title with birdies at the 13th and 17th.

In gathering gloom at Valhalla, where play was suspended for just under two hours earlier in the day due to water-logged conditions, McIlroy parred the last hole to win his third consecutive title on the PGA Tour, and his second major this year.

The 25-year-old, who won the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah by a record eight shots, became the fourth-youngest player to land four majors, with only Tom Morris Jr., Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods ahead of him.

Mickelson, who had been bidding for a sixth major title, recorded his first top-10 finish on the 2013-14 PGA Tour after a disappointing season.

“It was good for me to get back in the mix and to feel the pressure and get in the thick of it,” said the American left-hander. “I kind of ran out of steam there after 12, wasn’t able to get a couple of birdies coming in like I needed to.”

With birdies abundant on a receptive, rain-softened layout, the galleries were treated to a breathtaking display of shot-making in the final round.

However, the late starters faced a race against darkness in their bid to finish the 96th PGA Championship on Sunday.

Play was halted just before noon as heavy rain swept across the par-71 Valhalla layout, leaving rivers of water on several fairways and pools covering many greens.

Roughly an inch of rain had saturated the course by the time play resumed at 2:44 p.m., and with dusk fast approaching, a Monday finish seemed likely.

One ahead going into the final round, McIlroy ran up a three-putt bogey at the par-three third to slip to 12 under, level with Mickelson and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger.

Moments later it became a five-way tie at the top when Fowler birdied the fourth and Stenson the fifth.

Fowler seized the lead with a spectacular chip-in for birdie from just off the right edge of the green at the fifth, but was caught soon after by Mickelson and Stenson.

An up-and-down birdie at the seventh put Fowler one ahead again but the lead did not last long as Stenson soon joined him, draining a 27-footer at the ninth.

McIlroy, who had bogeyed the sixth after finding a bunker with his approach, picked up his first shot of the day at the seventh, hitting a delicate chip from beside a bunker to four feet and sinking the putt.

Out in one-over par 36, McIlroy eagled the 10th, narrowly missed birdie putts at 11 and 12 before sinking a five-footer at the 13th to join Mickelson and Fowler in a tie for the lead at 15 under.

Fowler dropped back with a bogey at 14, and Mickelson dropped his only shot of the day at the 16th before McIlroy effectively made the title safe when he rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt on the 17th green.


 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

New OT rule in AHL generating buzz

Slam thunk! Sarah Silverman nearly hit by basketball at Knicks game... but luckily John McEnroe is there to shield her

Spurs' Matt Bonner will wear new Adidas Crazy 8 shoes for Christmas game

Jason Saltmarsh: Runners should never have to pay for their race photos

Ex-official pleads guilty to embezzling thousands from Pembroke football nonprofit

Former New Hampshire goalie DeSmith tells his side of arrest, dismissal from team

NH hockey team moving to Maine could be worth at least $1 million in economic activity say city officials

New owners of Claremont plan to put speedway back on track

Speedway in Claremont bought for nearly $519,000

Lebanon marathoner qualifies for US Olympic Trials

Matt Bonner talks about the end of the run, making the simple play, and playing until he's 40

Ex-UNH goalie agrees to diversion,receive counseling, avoids jail

Wildcats will face Chattanooga in prime time

New England Revolution forward Charlie Davies teaches supporters how to believe

Helmetless Football? Its the new practice at UNH

CASEY DeSMITH

DeSmith officially dismissed from New Hampshire team, but can return to class as of Dec. 20

San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner (15), of Concord, N.H., shoots the ball against Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) during the second half at TD Garden.

Rapper Lil B gives shoutout to…Matt Bonner?

Manchester Central's Tyler Stratton watches his shot get by Spaulding High School (Rochester) goalie Derek Scott during a shootout at the 2012 Bauer Christmas Hockey Classic hosted at JFK Coliseum in Manchester.

VFW downsizing threatens Spaulding hockey due to loss of venue for Bingo fundraisers

Eagles notes: Kelly committed to current job

5 face riot charges in beating incident at football game

Ayotte rips top sports league commissioners for snubbing hearing on domestic violence

Manchester Monarchs sign Josh Gratton to AHL contract

Can football without helmets lead to fewer concussions?

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

    ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!