Washington, March 18 (IANS) Rory McIlroy pocketed his 15th PGA Tour title by winning The Players tourney, coming in two under par at 70 at the TPC Sawgrass here.
Former Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk, 48, almost got away with a stunning upset on Sunday, hitting a fabulous drive to within three feet from the hole on the 18th green and he easily scored a birdie to take the lead, reports Efe news.
McIlroy, the 29-year-old from Northern Ireland, had settled for a bogey on the 14th hole to slip back a bit and then knocked one into a bunker, but he then came back with an excellent shot for a birdie.
On the 16th hole, McIlroy hit his longest drive of the day and notched the birdie to take the lead, following that performance with a nicely done shot onto the dangerous island green of the par-3 17th hole.
His final score was 16 under par at 272, winning The Players tourney for the first time on his 10th try and now he has his eye on the Masters in April, given that the upcoming contest is the only major he still lacks for the career Grand Slam.
In what has been a great year for him, it was McIlroy’s 23rd career title worldwide, earning him the $2.25 million purse and getting him into the top slot of the FedEx Cup standings.
He has never finished at lower than the sixth spot in the six tourneys in which he has competed so far this year.
McIlroy did not start out the day well on Sunday, however, with a double bogey on Hole 4, but in the rest of the round he hit six birdies and two bogeys.
So far in his career, he has won four majors – the 2011 US Open, the 2012 and 2014 PGA and the 2014 British Open. He had not won a tourney since March 19, 2018, when he prevailed at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
His worst performance in the five tourneys he’s played in this year – before today – was when he came in sixth at the Arnold Palmer.
Both Eddie Pepperell and Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas shot six under par at 66 on Sunday, with both of them delighting the spectators with fabulous putts on the 17th green.
World No. 1 golfer Dustin Johnson ended up three strokes off McIlroy’s pace, tied with Brandt Snedeker and Briton Tommy Fleetwood.