McIlroy heads to Hazeltine buoyed by FedEx success
Rory McIlroy delivered the European Ryder Cup team a stunning confidence lift in dramatically ending the PGA Tour season winning a play-off with a stunning eagle putt to capture both the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup trophy.
McIlroy grabbed his second Play-Off Series triumph in three events with victory at the fourth extra play-off hole after he and American Ryan Moore ended regulation play tied on 12-under par on the East Lake course in Atlanta.
Victory earned the four-time Major winner a whopping $US 1.8m for his first Tour Championship success and the added $US 10m bonus in lifting the FedEx Cup.
And to rub salt into the USA Ryder Cup team wounds McIlroy’s double delight denied Dustin Johnson the FedEx Cup after ‘DJ’ produced a horrible last day 73 that included two birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey.
It had been a three-man play-off but with American Kevin Chappell eliminated at the first extra hole and still looking for a first PGA Tour victory.
“You don’t get many times to win a golf tournament but then I will learn from today and put it to good effect next time,” said Chappell.
McIlroy had the chance to seal victory at the first extra hole had he holed his six-foot eagle putt.
Both players birdied the first extra hole and then parred the next two but with Mcilroy eagling the 18th hole of the course for the second time in the afternoon.
It had not been too late in his round when McIlroy ignited the brilliance sending the crowd to their feet and roaring with delight when he holed his second shot for an eagle ‘2’ at the 16th and holed a tap-in at 18 in an eventual final round of a six-under par 64 to finish on 12-under par.
Moments earlier Moore, playing alongside McIlroy, ended with a 64 to set the mark at 12-under par before McIlroy tapped-in for the same tally with Chappell posting a 66.
McIlroy, who was two back at the start of the day, birdied the first but gave it back with a bogey at the next that put him three behind Chappell and Johnson.
He then birdied six before back-to-back birdies at 10 and 11.
But it was his 132-yard wedge shot into 16 that was the shot heard all round the course where legendary Bobby Jones called home.
Then when it looked as though McIlroy may fall short of capturing a second Play-Off title in three starts, he put his third shot to just two feet at the last to ensure the play-off.
McIlroy now heads straight to Hazeltine along with his manager, caddy, long-time coach Michael Bannon and fitness coach, Steve McGregor on a private jet heading north-west to Chaska in Minnesota.
And for the likes of fellow European Team members Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood it is the first occasion McIlroy will have seen Hazeltine since he shared third place in 2009 on debut in the PGA Championship.
“It was my first PGA Championship back in ’09 and the first year I played all four of the Majors, so to finish third and right behind Y.E. (Yang) and Tiger (Woods) was a pretty special way to end the Majors that year,” said McIlroy ahead of the last day.
Adam Scott was the lone Australian to play the weekend following Jason Day’s withdrawal due to injury. Scott kept his best for last with his final round 65 moving him up six places in to a tie for 8th place.