By Staff and Wire Reports at Global Golf Post
After six consecutive PGA Tour rounds of 2-over par or worse, Rory McIlroy reminded his many doubters that he deserves to be considered one of the top few golfers on the planet.
The last time McIlroy had won was Sept. 25, 2016 – the day Arnold Palmer died – when he shot 64 to capture the Tour Championship in dramatic fashion. On Sunday at Bay Hill, he put his best attributes on display, overpowering the course with mammoth tee shots and precise putting.
He led the field in multiple statistical categories, but the most noticeable was strokes gained putting.
“I kept telling everyone I was close, nobody would believe me but I knew it,” McIlroy said. “I had a rough patch at the start of the Florida swing but in golf, it is never that far away, just as when you are playing well you’re not far away from playing badly. I had a really good weekend of practice after missing the cut last week and it has paid off right away.”
The final round started with Henrik Stenson leading and Bryson DeChambeau one stroke back, but neither of them had much momentum in the early going. Meanwhile, McIlroy went out in 3-under 33 to throw himself into the thick of contention.
The event reached a fever pitch when Tiger Woods made a run. Woods went out in 2-under 34 then birdied three of his first four holes on the closing nine to get within one of the lead. His rally hit a brick wall on the par-5 16th when he pulled his tee shot out of bounds, leading to bogey. Woods ended in a tie for fifth, his third consecutive top-15 finish, and now is 35th in the FedEx Cup point standings.
However, the spotlight belonged to McIlroy. He birdied five of the last six holes and concluded with an emotional fist pump after pouring his birdie putt into the heart of the hole on No. 18.
“To play the golf I did under that pressure I’m so proud of myself and so happy to get the win,” McIlroy said. “I think I gave myself a chance for birdie on almost every hole. I played a perfect round of golf.”
McIlroy was projected to move to No. 7 in the world with the win.
Driver: TaylorMade M3 460 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei Orange 70TX
3 Wood: TaylorMade M3 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 80TX
5 Wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Rombax P95X
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (48, 52 and 58 degrees), Taylormade Hi-Toe (60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X 6.5
Putter: TaylorMade TP Collection Black Copper Soto (with slant neck)
Golf Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
Republished with permission from Global Golf Post.