Rory McIlroy wins at Quail Hollow to end victory drought
Rory McIlroy found his comfort zone at Quail Hollow and left with a trophy he badly needed.
McIlroy closed with a 3-under 68 and made it tough on himself at the end Sunday, driving into the hazard left of the 18th fairway and needing two putts from 45 feet for a one-shot victory in the Wells Fargo Championship.
What mattered was ending 18 months since his last victory in the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, along with finding a strong semblance of his game as he prepares to return to Kiawah Island for the PGA Championship.
McIlroy seemed to be on the verge of choking up at winning on Mother’s Day, thinking of his mother, Rosie, and wife Erica. She was at Quail Hollow with their daughter, Poppy, and McIlroy doted on them before signing his card.
McIlroy seized control with two splendid bunker shots, getting up-and-down for birdie on the reachable par-4 14th and the par-5 15th, and then holding on at the end.
McIlroy finished at 10-under 274 for his 19th career victory, and his third at Quail Hollow.
A childhood refugee from communist Czechlosovokia (now the Czech Republic), the 50-year-old Cejka made a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 18 and Stricker missed an 8-footer with a chance to extend the playoff at Greystone Golf & Country Club.
Cejka had turned a three-stroke deficit into a two-shot lead over the final nine holes for a 5-under 67. His winning putt was from a similar spot to the one Stricker made for birdie in regulation to force the playoff.
Stricker, who won the last time the event was held in 2019, closed with a 68 to match Cejka at 18-under 270.
Cejka, who grew up in Germany, got into the field as an alternate Monday when Jay Haas withdrew and left with full exemption. He made his first two PGA Tour Champions starts as a Monday qualifier, and tied for second at the Chubb Classic.
Swede Robert Karlsson was third at 14 under after a 69.
The Americans won for the third straight time to take a 38-9-1 lead in the biennial event first played in 1922.
Eckroat overwhelmed Mark Power 7 and 6 in the opening match, and Coody beat Alex Fitzpatrick 3 and 1 in the second. Castillo topped John Murphy 2 and 1 to become the only player to finish the two-day event 4-0.
Quade Cummins gave the U.S. a half-point, winning the 18th with a par to pull even with Barclay Brown.
GB&I took 2 1/2 of the four points in the morning foursomes to pull within a half-point.
Jutanugarn won her 11th LPGA Tour title and first since July 2018. She finished at 22-under 266 to edge fellow Thai Atthaya Thitikul, the 18-year-old who missed a 4-foot birdie putt at the last to force a playoff.
Patty Tavatanakit, the 54-hole leader and winner of the first LPGA Tour major of the year, closed with a 70 to tie for third with Angel Yin (66), three-time Thailand winner Amy Yang (64) and So Yeon Ryu (64).
Jutanugarn’s unblemished round included nine birdies and went some way to making up for her collapse in 2013 when she blew a two-shot lead on the 18th hole with a triple bogey that handed victory to South Korea’s Inbee Park.
EUROPEAN TOUR Garrick Higgo of South Africa made a hole-in-one on the seventh hole and was never seriously challenged as he closed with a 7-under 64 for a six-shot victory in the Canary Islands Championship.
Maverick Antcliff of Australia closed with a 65 to finish second.
KORN FERRY TOUR Austin Smotherman won the Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation for his first Korn Ferry Tour title, closing with a 3-under 69 for a three-stroke victory.
The 26-year-old former SMU player finished at 16-under 272 at The Grove.
Carl Yuan (71) and Paul Haley II (70) tied for second.
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