Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry provided Ireland with a 1-2 in the Canadian Open on Sunday, as a top-ten finish for Portrush’s Graeme McDowell clinched his place at the British Open there next month.
Co. Down-native McIlroy carded a nine-under-par final round of 61, matching his career-best score on the PGA Tour, on his first visit to the Canadian Open at the Hamilton Golf & Country Club in Ontario, giving him a seven-stroke victory over Offaly’s Lowry, who shot 67 on Sunday.
McIlroy ended the tournament at 22-under 258, his 16th PGA Tour success, with Shane Lowry (67) and American Webb Simpson (68) tied for second place on 15-under.
The Ulsterman’s started Sunday’s round in impressive fashion as his 350-yard drive struck the pin with his pitch shot from 40 yards. His tap-in birdie gave him the outright lead and he would then go on to add eight further birdies to move to nine under par for the round after 14 holes.
Though he bogeyed the par-four 16th, McIlroy then claimed a tap-in eagle at the par-five 17th after a seven-iron 200-yard approach.
The chance of an incredible score of 59 was on if the Irish golfer birdied the par-four 18th. Unfortunately, his approach shot found the greenside bunker. Though the eventual winner tried to hole the 35-foot sand shot, his ball went past the hole and he would finally have to settle for a bogey after missing a sharply-breaking seven-foot putt.
Speaking after his win, the Irishman said:
“I’ll probably enjoy tonight and have a couple of drinks on the plane on the way to Pebble, but once I get up in the morning in California I’m not going to going to think about this week. I’m just going to know my game’s in good shape and try to win another major.”
McIlroy’s win means he joins Tommy Armour, Walter Hagen, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Tiger Woods on an elite list of players to have won a Canadian, British and US Open.
Incredibly, the former World Number 1 has now won a national championship in six different countries after previous successes at the US Open, British Open, Irish Open, Australian Open and Hong Kong Open.
Graeme McDowell, who needed to finish in the top 10 and be among the top three finishers not already qualified for The Open, finished the tournament on 10-under-par, thus securing his spot at his home town of Portrush in July.
G Mac’s round wasn’t without drama, however, as he sank a 30-foot putt on the 18th hole to secure his spot as he finished in eighth place overall.
McDowell spoke of his delight as the prospect of teeing off for a major golf tournament at his home course:
“Obviously very proud to have got one of the Open Championship spots and get that little monkey off my back and let me go and play some golf the next few weeks.”