Defending champion Rory McIlroy birdied his final two holes and shot an 8-under-par 62 to stop many teammates on Sunday and win the RBC Canadian Open at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto.
McLarey’s 19-under 261 is two shots better than Tony Finau and four ahead of Justin Thomas. McIlroy played with Finau and Thomas in the last threesome of the day, who held it tight until the final two holes.
The four-time Northern Ireland champion has won the 21st PGA Tour of his career. He won the Canadian Open in 2019 at a different site at Hamilton Golf and Country Club and two years after the tournament was closed due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
McIlroy, an outspoken critic of the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational Series, led by CEO Greg Norman, took the time to enjoy his first PGA Tour victory of the calendar year. In fact, McIlroy has surpassed Norman’s 20th victory mark on the tour.
When the moderator of his press conference introduced him, saying he had won for the 21st time, McIlroy interrupted, “and one more than Norman.”
“I think winning the PGA Tour is getting harder and harder,” McIlroy said. “Look at the two people I played with today. I went out with a lead and had to shoot 8 under par to get the job done. So the depth of talent on this tour is really, really impressive. And going against guys like Jetty and Tony and coming to the top, it’s something that feels really good. A
“And then, look, I hinted at that, I had extra motivation for what was happening across the pond,” he added later. “The guy who carried the spear on that tour had 20 wins on the PGA Tour and I was attached to him and I wanted to get one from him. And I did. So it was really great for me, a little bit proud of it. “
McIlroy started hot with a 5-under 29 in the first nine, the first time he broke 30 through nine holes in his sorted PGA Tour career. But after getting 8 under through 12 holes, he staggered, bogging two par 3s on a four-hole stretch.
par-4 In the 17th hole, McIlroy sent his approach shot within 3 feet of the first cut of roughness for a birdie. At least equal to the need at No. 18, he dials in another sharp method and makes a 4 foot birdie tap.
Thomas, still hot on his heels of a recent PGA Championship win, had a tie with McIlroy at the age of 17 after the 16th. Thomas birdied eight of his 14 holes, but a boogie-boogie finish took him out of the race and took him to 64.
Finau made six birdies for his own 74 runs and did not bogey. He reached the 18-under by draining a 42-foot birdie put in the final hole and securing a single second finish.
“I played very well all week,” Finau said. “I knew that if I stuck to my things, I would have a chance to win today. And I did. We were one of the last couple to go, so I knew I had a chance. But Rory played great, he stopped it and thus hatted him off in a week. It’s a great weekend game. “
England’s Justin Rose surprisingly came close to a 59, but bogeyed two of his last three holes and settled at 60. He finished fourth in 14 under with Sam Burns (65).
Rose leaned three eagles a day. He first came out of the fairway in par-4, made a 29-foot eagle put in the par-5 11th and had a simple 7-footer for the eagle in the par-5 15th.
After booing No. 16, he responded with a birdie in the 17th over to return to the 11-under for the round. But his second shot at No. 18 went over the green and he couldn’t get up evenly to save 59.
“I’m totally disappointed, yes,” Rose said. “Because you know for sure what is at stake. You’re really playing the last hole – I’ve never shot 59 before – so it could be a pretty footnote week. I don’t know if I was in control or not, but (for the 18-way approach) we were right between two clubs and a decision and I went the wrong way with a decision and paid the price. “
Corey Connors was the top Canadian, sixth in the bottom 12 after the final round of 62.
Keith Mitchell (66) and Windham Clarke (69) both qualified for next month’s Open Championship and tied with Chris Kirk (66) in the seventh under-10 finish.
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