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CJ Cup 2021: Rory McIlroy Tops Collin Morikawa By 1 Stroke, Wins After Final-Round 66

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVOctober 18, 2021

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy had just one win last season, at May's Wells Fargo Championship. One tournament into his next season, he has already matched his 2021 success.

McIlroy won the CJ Cup on Sunday in Las Vegas, shooting a 6-under 66 to finish 25 under for the tournament. That left him just one stroke ahead of Collin Morikawa and three strokes in front of Keith Mitchell and Rickie Fowler. 

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Ror-ing 20 🏆 <a href="https://twitter.com/McIlroyRory?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@McIlroyRory</a> captures his 20th career win at THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT. <a href="https://t.co/u4gFUErmuc">pic.twitter.com/u4gFUErmuc</a>

Talor Gooch, Sam Burns, Aaron Wise and Adam Scott rounded out the top five at 21 under. 

McIlroy had a brilliant weekend, storming back into contention after shooting a 62 on Saturday. He continued that with a strong round Sunday that included five birdies, an eagle and a bogey. 

He averaged a driving distance of 325.1 yards on Sunday, had a driving accuracy of 71.4 percent, hit 83.3 percent of greens in regulation and lost 0.81 strokes putting, per PGATour.com

He also hit some beautiful shots during his final round:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

In the red. 🔴<br><br>Birdie at 2 moves <a href="https://twitter.com/McIlroyRory?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@McIlroyRory</a> within 2. <a href="https://t.co/6IbC7nAN8X">pic.twitter.com/6IbC7nAN8X</a>

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PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. 🙃<a href="https://twitter.com/McIlroyRory?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@McIlroyRory</a> saves par to remain tied at the top. <a href="https://t.co/Bzviai2wxn">pic.twitter.com/Bzviai2wxn</a>

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Rory is rolling it. <a href="https://twitter.com/McIlroyRory?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@McIlroyRory</a> opens up a 3-shot lead with an eagle from off the green at 14. 👏 <a href="https://t.co/x64XLWxHgV">pic.twitter.com/x64XLWxHgV</a>

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

In full command. <a href="https://twitter.com/McIlroyRory?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@McIlroyRory</a> heads to the 72nd hole with a 1-shot lead. <a href="https://t.co/bu3LtP9dBW">pic.twitter.com/bu3LtP9dBW</a>

McIlroy needed every last one of those shots, as Morikawa charged up the leaderboard, shooting a 62 of his own Sunday. Only Emiliano Grillo's 61—which tied the event's 18-hole scoring record—during the final round was better. 

But the day belonged to McIlroy, who continues to add exploits to an already impressive resume:

Kyle Porter @KylePorterCBS

At age 32.5 ...<br><br>Phil Mickelson: 21 PGA Tour wins | 0 majors<br>Rory McIlroy: 20 PGA Tour wins | 4 majors

Kyle Porter @KylePorterCBS

Rory has also nearly had the combined career of two other world No. 1 players in his generation. <br><br>Koepka + Jason Day: 20 PGA Tour wins | 5 majors<br>Rory: 20 PGA Tour wins | 4 majors

Jason Sobel @JasonSobelTAN

Rory McIlroy wins the CJ Cup. Fresh off an emotional Ryder Cup, have to feel good for a player who spoke so honestly afterward about what the game means to him. He’s the best interview in the game and one of its most important figures. Golf is better when Rory is at his best.

Jason Sobel @JasonSobelTAN

For as big as Rory McIlroy’s victory is today, it might be bigger for the questions to which it leads: Is this the beginning of a Rory rally? Can he sustain it into next year? Maybe lead to an elusive fifth major title? All in due time, of course. But all questions worth asking.

Dan Rapaport @Daniel_Rapaport

So easy to view Rory's career through the lens of what he hasn't done. Part of it's self-inflicted. He lets us in, and it results in a parasocial connection. When he plays bad, it feels personal. But zoom out. He has 20 Ws at 32. An all time great. The furthest thing from tragic.

McIlroy said his disappointment at the Ryder Cup, and the chance to take some time to reflect on his approach in general, helped inspire Sunday's win:

Kyle Porter @KylePorterCBS

Rory on how his emotions at the end of the Ryder Cup affected him over the last few weeks and helped lead to this win. <a href="https://t.co/S8M9yzBGp0">pic.twitter.com/S8M9yzBGp0</a>

He also appreciated the historical context of the victory.

"It is a pretty big carrot," McIlroy told reporters. "To get to 20 wins out here is a big achievement."

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