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:
|Rory McIlroy Round 4 Scorecard at Valhalla|
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
He recovered well but had to deal with a lot of pressure on the green in the dark, as noted by Gene Wojciechowski:
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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