The Northern Irish star lost his opening lead and fell as much as three strokes back. However, he ended up with a 68 while playing into the darkness to capture his fourth career major and second in a row after also earning the title at the Open Championship.
There were some big names at the top in the final leaderboard, making the tournament one that was as exciting as you will ever see:
Here is a look at the 25-year-old's round from Sunday:
McIlroy came into the day with a one-stroke lead and was playing for the chance to join some historic company, as noted by John Buccigross and ESPN Stats & Info:
With a win today Rory McIlroy would become the1st player since Tiger Woods (2006) to win 3 straight events on PGA TOUR— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 10, 2014
Rory McIlroy: trying to join Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win 4 majors by age 25— John Buccigross (@Buccigross) August 10, 2014
He was certainly confident heading into his final round, saying, "It's not the biggest lead I've ever had. But I'm still in control of this golf tournament. It's a great place to be going into tomorrow," via the Associated Press (h/t USA Today).
Unfortunately, his day got off to a late start due to inclement weather. He teed off at 4:19 p.m. ET, but this put pressure on him to hurry through his round before it got dark, as ESPN's Bob Harig joked:
Rory opens with a par and the leaders are finally on their way. #PlayFastPlease— Bob Harig (@BobHarig) August 10, 2014
Things started to go south for McIlroy early on, as he bogeyed both the third and sixth holes. After the second misstep, Jon Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader noted the player was finally seeing his score match his performance:
Not looking good for Rory. Bogey on 6. Shot low scores past 2 days but admitted he didn't play well. Catching up with him #PGAChampionship— John Clay (@johnclayiv) August 10, 2014
While he birdied the seventh hole, he had already been passed by Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson, with Henrik Stenson and others also remaining in contention.
As Shane Bacon of Yahoo Sports noted, the craziness of the day helped fans almost forget about McIlroy:
This final round has been so crazy so far, the one person we’ve forgotten is the guy that was leading.— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) August 10, 2014
Although he was as much as three strokes back, the star was not ready to give up on the championship just yet. He came back into contention with an eagle on No. 10 that featured one of the top shots of the tournament:
Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports gave his description of the shot:
That second shot Rory just hit on 10 is criminal. Unbelievable. He makes that putt and it's a four-way tie for first.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) August 10, 2014
McIlroy explained the importance of this shot after the round:
He then challenged himself to end the day as strong as possible, via Kyle Porter of CBS Sports:
Rory: "I said 'let's try and shoot 30 on this back nine.'"— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) August 11, 2014
While he did not reach this goal, he was likely satisfied with his 32. Not much later, he was able to birdie No. 13 to get back into a tie for the lead in dramatic fashion, as noted by Brian Wacker of PGATour.com:
Rory. Tied for the lead. Just. Like. That. #PGAChampionship— Brian Wacker (@pgatour_brianw) August 10, 2014
When Mickelson had his first bogey of the day on the 16th hole, it gave McIlroy the lead all by himself.
He was able to extend the lead to two thanks to a clutch birdie on No. 17.
Darkness became an issue on the 18th hole, so along with Bernd Wiesberger, he ended up joining Mickelson and Fowler in an unorthodox foursome:
Phil and Rickie just invited to Rory and Bernd Wiesberger to play up on 18. Rory's tee shot drifts right but stays out of the hazard.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 11, 2014
He recovered well but had to deal with a lot of pressure on the green in the dark, as noted by Gene Wojciechowski:
Two putt for for the major. Or a Phil/Rory playoff tomorrow morning. Amazing.— Gene Wojciechowski (@GenoEspn) August 11, 2014
McIlroy put his first putt close enough to the hole that a tap-in gave him the impressive victory.
With the win, McIlroy showed that he is still in the midst of a great run of golf. He had almost two full years of inconsistency before finally coming through and now is on top of the leaderboard at every competition.
After the round, he reflected on what he has accomplished at such a young age:
He always had a great deal of skill, but he showed with his comeback Sunday that he has the mental strength to be a force going forward. Until further notice, he will be the favorite at every upcoming tournament.
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