Rory McIlroy secures 20th PGA Tour victory with CJ Cup success in Las Vegas

Final round of six-under good enough to ensure one-shot win over Collin Morikawa

Rory McIlroy celebrates with the trophy after winning during the final round of the CJ Cup in Las Vegas. Photograph: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy celebrates with the trophy after winning during the final round of the CJ Cup in Las Vegas. Photograph: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

 

Rory McIlroy put his Ryder Cup pain behind him to join a select band of players with 20 PGA victories with a one-stroke win in the CJ Cup in Las Vegas on Sunday.

Starting the day two shots behind leader Rickie Fowler, the former world number one - whose ranking has slipped to 14th during a troubled 2021 - carded a superb six-under 66 to end on 25-under par for his second victory of 2021.

McIlroy mixed four birdies around his first bogey since Thursday on the front nine, gained another stroke on the 12th before setting up the win by sinking a monster 34-foot putt from off the green for an eagle three on the 14th.

A composed approach shot on the last meant he could two-putt from 13 feet for a closing par to secure victory ahead of American Collin Morikawa, who scorched up the leaderboard to put pressure on the Northern Irishman with a career-best 10-under 62.

Fowler (71) and fellow American Keith Mitchell (67) were two further shots back in equal-third.

“To get to 20 wins here is a big achievement,” McIlroy, the 39th player to achieve the feat, said in his greenside interview. “I didn’t know if it was going to be this week, but I knew if I just kept my head down and kept playing well and kept doing the right things that eventually I’d get there.

“To get a win, it’s great, it feels really good.”

McIlroy, who made his best score since 2019 with his third round 62, later told reporters: “I played really well this week, highlighted by the 10-under yesterday, but to follow that up with a really solid round today ... I just played really solid golf, just kept giving myself birdie looks and thankfully made enough of them to get the job done.”

McIlroy was playing for the first time since his disappointing performance in Europe’s recent Ryder Cup defeat in Wisconsin last month - an arduous week which famously left the 32-year-old in tears in his closing interview - and said the experience had helped turn him around.

“It was huge. It really was. I was really disappointed with how I played,” he said in his greenside interview with PGA Tour.

“There was a lot of reflection in the last couple of weeks. This is what I need to do. I need to play golf, I need to simplify it. I need to just be me. I think for the last few months I was maybe trying to be someone else to try and get better.

“I realised that being me is enough, and being me I can do things like this.”

McIlroy scored only one point at Whistling Straits - his lowest haul from any of his six Ryder Cup appearances - amid only the second loss he has suffered for Team Europe.

He was even left out of the line-ups for the Saturday morning foursomes, before being recalled for the afternoon only to lose heavily with Ian Poulter, four and three, to Dustin Johnson and Morikawa. McIlroy earned his lone point through his consolation Sunday win over Xander Schauffele, when the US had already all but secured victory.

After his CJ Cup win, McIlroy revealed he had almost decided to miss the tournament - and not play again this year - amid the depths of his Ryder Cup despair.

“On the Saturday night of the Ryder Cup ... I was done with golf. I didn’t want to see golf again until 2022,” he told reporters.

“Sunday night at the Ryder Cup I thought, ‘Go to Vegas, go to CJ and try to build on this little bit of a breakthrough that I’ve had.”

Shane Lowry also finished strongly in Las Vegas, firing off a final round of eight-under. His impressive score of 64 saw him move up the leader board to finish in a tie for 54th on 12-under.

Collated final round scores and totals (USA unless stated, Irish in bold, Par 72):

263 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 68 67 62 66

264 Collin Morikawa 67 70 65 62

266 Rickie Fowler 66 66 63 71, Keith Mitchell 62 64 73 67

267 Sam Burns 67 68 66 66, Talor Gooch 67 68 70 62, Adam Scott (Aus) 68 63 67 69, Aaron Wise 66 67 68 66

268 Harry Higgs 64 67 70 67, Sung Jae Im (Kor) 68 69 67 64, Cameron Smith (Aus) 66 67 67 68, Robert Streb 61 72 65 70, Gary Woodland 68 69 66 65

269 Abraham Ancer (Mex) 70 65 63 71, Chris Kirk 68 67 68 66, Webb Simpson 69 69 66 65, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 66 69 68 66

270 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 72 68 69 61, Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 67 65 67 71, Viktor Hovland (Nor) 65 68 70 67, Ian Poulter (Eng) 66 67 67 70, Xander Schauffele 69 69 69 63, Jordan Spieth 66 65 72 67, Justin Thomas 69 67 70 64

271 Paul Casey (Eng) 68 65 70 68, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 65 70 69 67, Russell Henley 68 69 65 69, Mackenzie Hughes (Can) 71 62 70 68, Kyoung-Hoon Lee (Kor) 67 72 66 66, Carlos Ortiz (Mex) 71 65 67 68, Erik van Rooyen (Rsa) 67 66 68 70

272 Keegan Bradley 70 66 69 67, Tom Hoge 71 68 68 65, Sung-Hoon Kang (Kor) 71 64 67 70, Seong-Hyeon Kim (Kor) 68 63 72 69, Hudson Swafford 65 69 69 69, Harold Varner III 67 70 66 69

273 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 68 72 64 69, Matt Jones (Aus) 70 69 66 68, Brooks Koepka 67 70 68 68, Marc Leishman (Aus) 70 69 70 64, Maverick McNealy 69 65 69 70, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 70 71 65 67, Scottie Scheffler 66 71 71 65

274 Tony Finau 68 71 70 65, Lucas Glover 69 70 65 70, Dustin Johnson 74 66 67 67, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 67 69 67 71

275 Stewart Cink 69 68 67 71, Joo-Hyung Kim (Kor) 68 73 68 66, Sebastian Munoz (Col) 69 67 71 68, Kevin Na 68 66 72 69, Kevin Streelman 75 70 63 67

276 Kevin Kisner 70 68 68 70, Jason Kokrak 77 66 65 68, Shane Lowry (Irl) 73 70 69 64

277 Min-Kyu Kim (Kor) 69 66 70 72, Justin Rose (Eng) 75 65 69 68

278 Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 70 70 68 70, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 66 70 74 68, Alexander Noren (Swe) 72 69 67 70, Cameron Tringale 71 70 69 68

279 Rasmus Hoejgaard (Den) 69 71 69 70

280 Cameron Davis (Aus) 68 69 74 69, Jason Day (Aus) 73 70 72 65, Patton Kizzire 71 71 70 68,Sang-Hun Shin (Kor) 71 70 69 70,

281 Branden Grace (Rsa) 72 72 71 66, Charley Hoffman 72 70 68 71, Jae-Kyeong Lee (Kor) 69 71 71 70, Patrick Reed 71 66 73 71

282 Brian Harman 67 69 73 73, Max Homa 67 70 70 75, Yo-Seop Seo (Kor) 74 70 70 68

284 Han-Byeol Kim (Kor) 74 69 71 70

288 Si Woo Kim (Kor) 71 69 71 77

295 Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 72 72 76 75

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