Rory McIlroy fended off Justin Thomas and Tony Finau to win the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday at St. George's Golf and Country Club in Toronto.
McIlroy prevailed in the most recent installment of the tournament in 2019 as well, with the 2020 and 2021 versions canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He posted an eight-under 62 in the final round to finish at 19 under, two strokes better than Finau.
RBC Canadian Open Leaderboard
1. Rory McIlroy (-19)
2. Tony Finau (-17)
3. Justin Thomas (-15)
T-4. Justin Rose (-14)
T-4. Sam Burns (-14)
6. Corey Conners (-12)
T-7. Keith Mitchell (-10)
T-7. Chris Kirk (-10)
T-7. Wyndham Clark (-10)
T-10. Danny Lee (-9)
T-10. Shane Lowry (-9)
T-10. Matt Fitzpatrick (-9)
Full leaderboard available at PGATour.com
McIlroy, Thomas and Finau were separated by two shots with three holes left to play. McIlroy could've opened up a little more breathing room on No. 14 but misjudged his birdie putt and watched the ball roll wide to the left.
The four-time major champion fared even worse on the par-three 16th hole. He hit his tee shot into a bunker and settled for a bogey. A par was enough for Thomas to grab a share of the lead, and Finau moved to one shot off first place.
The 17th hole saw a two-shot swing, though, to put McIlroy back in control. His wedge game was excellent all day, and no effort was better than his second shot on No. 17.
Thomas, on the other hand, found the rough on his drive and got onto the green in three. His par putt didn't find the mark, so he bogeyed the hole and fell to 16 under, giving McIlroy a two-shot advantage heading into the final hole.
Thomas' slim hopes of a comeback quickly faded when he badly hooked his second-shot approach on No. 18. Finau, likewise, found the green with his second shot but had a long birdie putt waiting for him.
That set the stage for quite the scene around the 18th green as the fans at St. George's eagerly awaited McIlroy's triumph. Finau's birdie added a bit more pressure but didn't alter the outcome.
With 54 rounds in the books north of the border, McIlroy and Finau were co-leaders at 11 under. For the latter, it was a welcome change from how most of this season has unfolded. Finau's fourth-place finish in the Charles Schwab Challenge was only his second top-10 on the PGA Tour this year.
While the RBC Canadian Open represents continued progress for Finau, the wait for his first win of 2022 goes on. He was unable to match the blistering pace McIlroy set from the outset and had to consistently play catch-up.
After improving to 13 under, McIlroy reeled off six birdies in a seven-hole stretch that culminated with a 40-foot putt on No. 12.
At that point, it looked like McIlroy was relatively free and clear in first. He was three shots up and performing lights-out. Instead, the air steadily went out of the balloon to make for some late drama.
At four under with one round to play, Justin Rose had an almost insurmountable deficit to bridge in order to stand atop the leaderboard by day's end, but that didn't stop him from trying.
Rose matched his career-low score for a single round on the PGA Tour by carding a 10-under 60. He began Sunday with an eagle on No. 1 and didn't look back from there.
All eyes are now on the U.S. Open, which tees off Thursday at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.
The tournament always generates plenty of excitement. This year's installment has the added drama of the USGA allowing the golfers who have signed with LIV Golf to compete. The PGA Tour suspended 17 golfers, most notably Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia, indefinitely from tour events, but that doesn't include the U.S. Open.
Johnson and Mickelson might get an icy reception from the Brookline crowd.