Rory McIlroy, two days shy of his 21st birthday, set a new course record at the Quail Hollow Club to win the PGA Quail Hollow Golf Championship on Sunday.
McIlroy shot a 62 to break the old record by two strokes, coming in 15–under for the four days of the tournament.
To make the win more amazing, McIlroy, a native of Holywood, Northern Ireland, almost missed the cut on Friday, coming in 1 over par.
His 16-under weekend stunned everybody. Many experts considered him a young golfer to watch, but no one expected him to dominate on a course as difficult as Quail Hollow.
The young Irishman scored eight birdies and an eagle in the final round, including two birdies on the treacherous Green Mile—the incredibly difficult final three holes at Quail Hollow.
“Ever since I was 10 or 11 years old I wanted to be a professional golfer,” McIlroy told CBS. “I’m just delighted to get here and to get my first win in the United States is very special. And to do it on a golf course like this is even better.”
McIlroy capped his round with a 42-foot putt, which hooked into the hole in the final two feet, a beautiful and very difficult shot which perfectly exemplified his performance in the final round.
“I was just seeing my shots and hitting them and seeing the lines of putts really well and everything was going in,” he explained. “It was just one of those days where everything went right.”
McIlroy says he isn’t ready to think about next weekend—the prestigious Players’ Championship. “I just need to let it sink in first for a couple of days then I’ll get my head around going to the Players’ and playing,” he said.
Mickelson Satisfied With Second
No one else in the field came close to McIlroy’s performance. Phil Mickelson started the day a stroke behind, but couldn’t match McIlroy’s play. Mickelson ended 11-under to earn second place.
Mickelson said that halfway through the round, he thought a 68 would be good enough to take the win.
“I was out on the course, four, five, six holes into the round thinking that 68 was kind of the number. That was the number I was going to set and try to get.
“I’ve got to congratulate Rory on a tremendous round,” Mickelson continued. “He played some incredible golf. A 30 on the back nine to win is just fabulous. He’s an amazing talent.”
Mickelson was happy with his performance, despite his second-place finish. “It was great for me to get right back into contention out of Augusta. There was no let down—I got right back in the thick of it. I made some clutch shots, and also made some poor shots, but when I needed it I hit some good ones.”
Mickelson seemed confident that he was ready for next weekend.
“The Players’ is a big event. It’s one where we all like to play well and fortunately my game is very close. And some slight adjustment here or there and I should be able to hopefully get in contention again on Sunday.”
Angel Cabrera was tied for the lead for much of the round, but missed too many easy putts, and dropped back to 10-under.
Cabrera also mentioned that he shot a good round of golf. “I played a real good round. I missed a few putts coming in, but I’m very happy where I am.”
Tiger Woods failed to make the cut, for only the sixth time in his pro career. He shot a 79 on Friday, the second worst score of his pro career.
Woods said in an interview posted on the Quail Hollow website, “It’s frustrating. I didn’t have much. My short game was terrible. I putted bad.”
Woods told the gathered reporters he couldn’t pinpoint the problem. “It is what it is. Whatever it was, it wasn’t good enough.”
Missing the cut was troubling, he admitted. “It does bother me, no doubt. But at least I get the weekend to watch and see how it’s done, how real players play golf, and hopefully I can piece it together for next week.”