Rory McIlroy has created a sensational eagle finish at the K Club to procure his first Irish Open title
Perhaps we all underestimated just how much an Irish Open win would mean to Rory McIlroy. One glance at the 27 -year-old as he converted for eagle on the 72 nd pit at the K Club instantly a picture of deep emotion. By his own admission, McIlroy was engaged in a battle not to cry.
The basic competitive statistic reveals McIlroy has ended a wait for victory which stretched back to November. That would hardly represent tragedy for mere golfing mortals but McIlroys status means he is tip-off to predominate every time he takes to tournament play. The Northern Irishman had continually insisted he was close to breaking his run and proved precisely that in the stunning fashion which renders him such a great champion.
McIlroy had trailed Russell Knox by a stroke when taking to the 16 th tee on Sunday. Yes, the Scotsman wilted, but that was due in part to the pressure applied by the four-time major winner. McIlroys risky three-wood approach to the par-five 16 th was glorious, setting up the birdie which swayed the pendulum.
McIlroy was a shot clear when reaching the 18 th, where he again played fairway wood, this time from 253 yards, into kick-in distance from the hole. Immediately, it was abundantly clear just how deeply McIlroy cherished success in his home Open. Others will do, too; with McIlroys foundation hosting the tournament, his prize of 515, 500( 666,660) will be donated wholly to charity.
It all just sort of reached me, McIlroy said. I had a little bit of hour on the green when Russell and Danny[ Willett] were finishing out and I was trying to hold back the tears then.
Golf-wise this week, its obviously very important to me, but also with the run that weve put into this tournament and the run that weve put into the foundation and the person or persons that we are going assistance from this week.
Weve already raised over 500,000 going to get today for the three select charities, and then all the wins go towards that as well, so weve transgressed the 1m mark the coming week, which is absolutely incredible. I dont usually get emotional about golf or about wins, but this one, it entails merely a little bit more, because its not just for myself. Its for a lot of other people. Its a day Ill not forget for a while.
A tournament that has provided McIlroy with conflicts in the past, partly due to the pressure associated with expectation, has thereby offered one of the finest moments of his career.
Knox shared second place with Waless Bradley Dredge. Knox, who retains Ryder Cup hopes, will feature in the PGA Championship at Wentworth from Thursday. I cant wait, he told with a smile. And Rorys not going, so thats good for me. Willett, curiously, hit a final round of 77 to slip to a share of 23 rd.
McIlroy was not the only player to be visibly moved by events in County Kildare. Matthew Southgate rendered inundations of tears after holing out on the 18 th green for the 68 which earned him a fourth-placed finish and the biggest cheque of his career. Southgates progression through the European Tours qualifying school late last year was impressive enough without him having undergone therapy for testicular cancer merely weeks earlier.
Its unbelievable, Southgate told. I cant put it into terms. Ive worked my whole life to be doing things like this, and to do it, I can scarcely talk about it. Im choked up about it.
Its a fantastic week. My dads here and its been incredible, absolutely incredible. My aim for the year was to keep my card and thats just done it there. Im utterly thrilled to bits.
I wasnt even in this tournament on Monday night. I was a reserve and got a phone call. I thought: Right, this is a big possibility, because I have been playing well for weeks.
This is just a huge achievement for me. Now with the freedom of having some money in the bank, some points on the board, Ill free up and hopefully this wont be the last hour you consider results like this from me.
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