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McIlroy Holds Off Furyk to Clinch Players at Sawgrass

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy image courtesy By TourProGolfClubs [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Rory McIlroy has won the Players Championship, beating Jim Furyk by just one shot after a thrilling final round at Sawgrass.

This is McIlroy’s first win in a year, and puts him in a good position to try for a career Grand Slam at next month’s Masters.

Only five players – Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods – have won the modern era career Grand Slam of Open Championship, US Open, Masters and US PGA Championship.

McIlroy is only the second UK golfer to win the Players, following Sandy Lyle in 1987.

Masters

The Northern Irishman’s two-under-par 70 gave him victory on 16 under. Quoted on Sky Sports, McIlroy said “I feel like I’m playing some of the best golf of my life right now and I just need to keep doing the same things. If I hadn’t won, I’d have said I didn’t need one going into Augusta, but it’s nice to win on a course that will play similar to Augusta in a few weeks.”

McIlroy won the US Open in 2011, US PGA in 2012 and 2014, and The Open in 2014, but has not yet won the Masters, which starts on 11th April.

England’s Eddie Pepperell holed a 50-foot putt on the 17th to briefly join McIlroy in a tie for the lead, before McIlroy pulled clear with birdies on the 15th and 16th. Pepperell finished two behind McIlroy, tied third after a 66.

English world number two Justin Rose finished on 68, while Tiger Woods ended six under with a 69.

See also: Rory McIlroy Makes Controversial European Tour U-Turn