Rory McIlroy wins British Open, closes in on career grand slam

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Rory McIlroy joined Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only three golfers to ever win three majors by age 25. The Northern Irishman led this year’s Open Championship wire-to-wire over the historical Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England with scores of 66-66-68-71 for a 17 under par finish.

The two stroke win over Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler was not as easy as anticipated on Sunday though.

McIlroy started the final round with a six-shot lead and stretched to it seven after his birdie on the first hole. However, it was not a walk in the park as was the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA Championship which he both won by eight strokes. The advantage had shrunk to two with five holes remaining, with the surging Garcia (66) and Fowler (67) giving chase.

The 34-year old Garcia, still winless in the majors, hit an errant wedge shot off the tee to the par three 15th leaving him in a deep faced pot bunker. It took Garcia two strokes to escape the trap, leading to costly bogey gave McIlroy the momentum to make his 2011 Masters collapse a distant memory. He lost a four-shot lead in a horrible final round 80 that day, but a more mature McIlroy was steady when he needed to be at Hoylake.

McIlroy’s excellent bunker shot from a deep greenside pot bunker on 18 removed all doubt from the cheering crowds and secured him the Claret Jug in the 143rd playing of the Open Championship.

In 2013, McIlroy was the number one player in the world at the start but it was a difficult year in which he went winless in 16 starts on the PGA Tour and dropped to 50th in the FedEx Cup standings. He dealt with the distractions like changing club manufacturers to Nike, changing management, a permanent move from Northern Ireland to Florida, joining the PGA Tour full time and his engagement to Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki that he recently called off. He seems to have simplified his life and with it came the third leg of a career grand slam.

As he walked off the 18th to a throng of McIlroy’s family and friends, including his mother Rosie (who saw him win a major for the first time and to which he dedicated the win) and his father Gerry

“The Open is the one that we all want, the one we strive for,” said the proud United Kingdom product. As he looks ahead moving to #2 in the Official World Rankings, capturing his first green jacket at The Masters has more meaning now than ever.

Top 10 Finishers

Player Score Rnd 4 Money Won Hole
Rory McIlroy -17 (66-66-68-71=271) -1(71) €1,223,450 F
Sergio Garcia -15 (68-70-69-66=273) -6(66) €577,217 F
Rickie Fowler -15 (69-69-68-67=273) -5(67) €577,217 F
Jim Furyk -13 (68-71-71-65=275) -7(65) €351,350 F
Adam Scott -12 (68-73-69-66=276) -6(66) €264,140 F
Marc Leishman -12 (69-72-70-65=276) -7(65) €264,140 F
Charl Schwartzel -11 (71-67-72-67=277) -5(67) €193,556 F
Edoardo Molinari -11 (68-73-68-68=277) -4(68) €193,556 F
Graeme McDowell -10 (74-69-68-67=278) -5(67) €141,376 F
Victor Dubuisson -10 (74-66-68-70=278) -2(70) €141,376 F
Shane Lowry -10 (68-75-70-65=278) -7(65) €141,376 F
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