Golf highlights: Rory McIlroy produces exciting very last round to win Players Championship

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Rory McIlroy celebrated St Patrick’s Day in remarkable fashion with victory within the prestigious Players Championship after a interesting very last round at Sawgrass. After proving his critics wrong by becoming a member of Sandy Lyle because the handiest British winners of the so-known as “5th predominant”, McIlroy will take renewed self assurance into his bid to win a true fifth primary name on the Masters to finish the profession grand slam. McIlroy recovered from an early double bogey to card a closing 70 and finish 16 under par, one shot in advance of former Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk, who had threatened to end up the oldest winner in match history. Furyk set the clubhouse target with a 67 that blanketed two birdies in the closing three holes, the 48-yr-vintage – who is less than a month older than 2005 champion Fred Funk – hitting a splendid approach to just 3 feet at the ultimate. However, McIlroy bounced returned from a bogey on the 14th with birdies at the following holes to move returned into the lead and accurately negotiated the treacherous 17th and 18th to relaxed a fifteenth PGA Tour title after beginning the season with 5 consecutive pinnacle-six finishes. McIlroy advised Sky Sports: “It’s very special. I just attempted to treat it like another day. Even even though I’ve had all the ones close calls this year, they did not suggest anything. “If something they have been exact for me, I referred to as them ‘far off misses’, it offers you even more wish to move forward and cross again. I assume all the ones stories this yr led me to date and ultimately they had been desirable for me because it got me over the line these days.

“The birdie on 12 changed into large to provide me a bit of momentum and the final few holes were tough. To get that birdie on 15 after the dropped shot on 14 became huge. “I knew 16 become an awesome threat and to par the ultimate holes and hit three excellent shots when I needed to, that offers me a whole lot of self assurance going forward.” The victory comes just weeks before McIlroy will try to win the Masters and grow to be only the 6th participant to complete a profession grand slam. The 29-yr-antique Northern Irishman introduced: “If I hadn’t have won today I might have stated I don’t want a win going into Augusta, but it is very nice to get a win, in particular doing it on this golf course, genuinely a golf path that performed a little bit much like the manner Augusta will play in a few weeks’ time. “I can take lots from this. It’s taken me a few weeks to get thus far but I experience like I’m gambling some of the satisfactory golfing of my life proper now and I just need to keep going with it and keep doing the identical things.” On his match debut, England’s Eddie Pepperell shared 1/3 location with Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas on 14 underneath, each players holing incredible birdie putts at the seventeenth in matching rounds of 66. “I really thought it turned into going to overlook low till proper at the cease and I become quite excited,” Pepperell stated. “I said to Mick (Doran, his caddie), that may be the highlight of my profession – I hope I do not top too early.

“Honestly I felt like I swung the club horrible nowadays. I kept hitting it right with my 3-timber, that is the club I financial institution on and I was useless with that. “My irons I became hitting quite well and the closing six holes around the greens I turned into on fire – I felt like Seve (Ballesteros) accessible to be honest.” Compatriot Tommy Fleetwood, who began the day in joint second with McIlroy, gave himself an outside threat of forcing a play-off together with his Ryder Cup team-mate with an eagle on the 16th, only to promptly hit his tee shot at the 17th into the water. And overnight leader Jon Rahm also discovered the water at the identical hole on his manner to a final spherical of 76 that left the Spaniard in a tie for 12th. Tiger Woods stored his satisfactory round of the week until last with a sixty nine and also believes he’s in true shape in advance of the Masters. “It’s proper on course,” Woods said. “I’m able to shape the ball both approaches, which I’m going to need there. I simply want some greater putts to go in, however it’s it.”