Rory McIlroy came from six shots behind in the final round of the Tour Championship to win the $18m tournament and become the first player to win the FedExCup three times.
McIlroy fired a closing 66 at East Lake to finish on 21 under par, a shot ahead of Im Sung-jae and long-time leader and pre-tournament favourite Scottie Scheffler.
However Scheffler struggled to a 73 and McIlroy took full advantage to claim a dramatic victory, having started the week six shots behind the world No.1 under the handicap scoring system and making a triple bogey on his first hole on Thursday.
Playing together in the final group, McIlroy and Scheffler both bogeyed the first and while Scheffler also dropped shots on the fourth and sixth, McIlroy birdied the third and made three more in succession from the fifth for a share of the lead. Scheffler responded immediately with a birdie on the eighth and although McIlroy got back on level terms at the 12th, he bogeyed the 14th after missing the green with his approach.
McIlroy was not about to throw in the towel and holed from 30 feet for birdie on the 15th. He then saved par on the next after flying his second shot over the green from a fairway bunker. The former world No 1’s chip was travelling at speed when it hit ithe pin and, after Scheffler made bogey from a greenside bunker, McIlroy holed from seven feet to take the lead for the first time. A poor bunker shot on the par-five 18th cost Scheffler the chance to force a playoff and the Masters champion had to scramble for par to share second place with Im, who matched McIlroy’s closing 66.
“What a week, what a day,” said McIlroy, who has now won a combined $43m for his three FedExCup victories. “Firstly, I want to say I feel like Scottie deserves at least half of this trophy. He has had an unbelievable season. I feel sort of bad that I pipped him to the post. He’s a hell of a competitor, he’s an even better guy, it was an honour and a privilege to battle with him today and I’m sure we’ll have many more. I told him we’re one-all in Georgia this year; he got the Masters, I got this. I didn’t really give myself much of a chance teeing off today, I thought six behind was going to be really tough to make up, but my good play and Scottie’s not-so-great play meant it was a ball game going into the back nine.”
McIlroy, who has been one of the most prominent advocates of the PGA TOUR in the face of competition from LIV Golf, added: “This is an incredibly proud moment for me, but it should also be an incredibly proud moment for the PGA Tour. They have had some hard times this year but we are getting through it and that was a spectacle out there today. Two of the best players in the world going head to head for the biggest prize on the PGA Tour and I hope everyone at home enjoyed that. I believe in the players on this Tour. It’s the greatest place in the world to play golf, bar none.”
Further down the leaderboard, Xander Schauffele, who looked the most likely player to topple Scheffler, shot a final round 69 to finish alone in fourth, with Max Homa, who fired a second round 62, finishing tied fifth with Justin Thomas after closing with rounds of 66 and 69 respectively. Tony Finau shot the lowest round of the final day, a six-under 64, to move into ninth place.
For the final Tour Championship leaderboard, click here.
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