McIlroy rallies for record 4th title at Wells Fargo

STEVE REED Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Rory McIlroy has his head down heading into the PGA Championship.

McIlroy won the Wells Fargo Championship for a record fourth time on Sunday with another dominant performance at Quail Hollow, easily overcoming a two-shot deficit to beat Xander Schauffele by five shots.

No other player has won the event more than twice.

McIlroy finished with a 6-under 65, playing the final 11 holes in 6 under even with a double bogey on the 18th hole. He finished at 17-under 267 after four straight rounds in the 60s and won his second straight PGA Tour event after teaming with Shane Lowry to win the Zurich Classic two weeks ago in New Orleans.

That should give McIlroy plenty of momentum heading to Kentucky for the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club, the site of his last major victory 10 years ago.

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“I definitely gained some confidence,” McIlroy said. “My golf swing is a lot more comfortable than it was before. So going to a site next week where I won, it feels like the stars are a little aligned. But I have a lot of golf to play and a lot of great players to try to beat next week. I feel really good about myself.”

McIlroy trailed by two after Schauffele made an eagle at the par-5 seventh, but the world number two quickly shifted into another gear.

The Northern Ireland star pulled even after birdies at Nos. 8 and 9, then made a 33-foot eagle putt at the 10th for his first lead of the tournament after Schauffele settled for a birdie.

Schauffele’s bogey at 12 gave McIlroy more breathing room.

McIlroy then essentially sealed the victory at the 13th when he birdied and Schauffele missed another putt for bogey, giving him a four-shot advantage.

He made another birdie at No. 14, then punctuated the victory by coming out of the sand for another eagle at No. 15 to move to 19 under, completing a remarkable eight-hole stretch at 8 under par.

“It’s Rory McIlroy, you know?” » said Schauffele. “He hits 350 yards in the air downwind and he has shorter clubs on firm greens than anyone. When he’s on, he’s on. Hats off to him for the win. He played incredibly well.”

At that point, the only question was whether McIlroy could match his own course record of 61 and tournament record of 21 under.

But he managed a smile when he hit his second shot on No. 18 over the green and into the water and had to take a drop. He scored a double bogey victory as the crowd chanted his name.

“I made a birdie, and then I just made a run that, for some reason, I can continue on this golf course,” McIlroy said. “Quail Hollow, Charlotte in general has been very good to me throughout my career and this is just another great day to add to all the others.”

McIlroy’s result was reminiscent of 2010 when he hit six straight 3s en route to a final round of 62 to beat Phil Mickelson for his first career PGA Tour victory. He also won the event in 2015 and 2021.

McIlroy has long considered Quail Hollow one of his favorite courses because it allows him to take advantage of his length off the tee. But it was his putting that earned him his 26th career PGA Tour title on Sunday.

He only needed 25 putts, five over 10 feet.

For Schauffele, it was a disappointing end to a good week.

He finished second for the second year in a row and saw his winless drought extend to 39 tournaments, a streak dating back to 2022. He led by four shots after 36 holes.

Byeong Hun An finished third at 9 under, and Jason Day and Sungjae Im tied for fourth at 6 under.

McIlroy thanked his mother Rosie, who was in Florida, after the Mother’s Day victory.

“My mom is amazing,” McIlroy said. “I think most people know my dad, but my mom is like the kind of stone or frost that holds our family together, she always has been. I said it last night, I’m probably a lot more like my father than me. I am my mother, but sometimes I wish I was a little more like my mother.”

Max Homa shot in the photo of the day.

Homa holed from the rough 213 yards for an eagle on No. 1, with his ball landing on the front of the green and rolling all the way to the back before hitting the flag hard and falling. But the two-time Wells Fargo champion was unable to continue his momentum after shooting 72 and finishing in ninth place.