Supreme Rory McIlroy Runs Away With Canadian Open

By: | Mon 10 Jun 2019 | Comments


RORY McILROY prepared for this week’s US Open at Pebble Beach in perfect fashion, shotting a final round of 61 to win the Canadian Open by seven shots from Shane Lowry and Webb Simpson.

McIlroy's victory is the largest margin of victory at the tournament since American Johnny Palmer won it by 11 strokes in 1952. He is only the seventh golfer to complete the triple crown of victories at the Canadian Open, US Open and Open Championship - the three oldest events on the tour. It was his 16th PGA Tour title and it left Lowry stunned. “I don't know what golf Rory is playing today,” Lowry said, “but it was just incredible.” In the process, McIlroy shot his best four-day score ever on the PGA TOUR - 258, which was 22 under par. And it could have been even better as he had a golden opportunity to finish the tournament with a 59.

McIlroy made five birdies on his front nine to reach the turn in 30. He then birdied the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th before dropping shots at two of his last three holes. There was also an eagle three at the par-five 17th. Had he birdied the 18th he would indeed have broken 60 for the first time in his career, but it wasn’t to be. “I had a chance to shoot 59. Sorry for being disappointed up here,” said McIlroy. “I played 17 wonderful holes. I was 10-under through 17 holes and I shot four-under on the back nine with two bogeys, so that was pretty good too. I’m playing well. I found a little groove and I want to keep it going.”

His 61 was his lowest round this season by two shots – and it came after missing the cut at the Memorial Tournament, his first missed cut of the season. He said he didn’t feel as though there was a huge difference in his form.  “That’s golf,” he said. “It’s something people don’t quite understand at this level. The margins are so fine and so small. It could have been, even last week, if I had made a couple extra birdies on the back nine I would have made the cut and I could have produced a weekend like this and won the tournament. So, something like this is always around the corner.” And he will be hoping that it continues when he arrives in California for the US Open.

McIlroy had the crowds firmly on his side all week, and promised to return to defend his title next year.  “I’ve been very fortunate to get a great reception all week. One of the cool things as well is that people are rowdy and chanting, but they know as soon as you go to hit the golf shot it’s deadly silent. They get it,” McIlroy said of the Canadian fans. “They were having fun and being loud but they still respected the traditions and values of the game. It was a perfect blend.”

McIlroy said he played the final round with a little more freedom than in weeks’ past when he had a chance to win, but ended up not bringing home the trophy. He moved to second on the FedExCup standings, and said his aggressive play Sunday paid off in a big way. His confidence grew all week, he said, and to have the freedom to swing away and be committed to what he was doing, was the difference. Most players will tell you that they don’t want to win a tournament the week before a major but McIlroy is not one of them - he will tee off at Pebble Beach with his confidence sky-high. The most encouraging thing from his point of view is that he holed a lot of putts in Canada as he secured his second victory of 2019.

Fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell qualified for The Open at his home course of Royal Portrush next month after finishing tied eighth on 10 under, alongside England's Danny Willett (67). And he did it in style, holing a 30-foot putt for par on the 18th and a round of 68. The leading three finishers in the top ten in Canada who had not already secured Open spots qualified for the final men's major.

Dustin Johnson finished tied 20th on seven under after a 69, while world number one and defending US Open champion Brooks Koepka was on two under following a 70.

EUROPEAN TOUR

DON’T let anybody tell you that the GolfSixes is just a gimmick that doesn’t matter to those who take part. Thailand won the latest edition, beating England in the final at Oitavos Dunes and Tom Lewis announced afterwards that he was “genuinely gutted” to miss out in a nearest-the-pin playoff.

Phachara Khongwatmai and Thongchai Jaidee were tied at 1-1 after six holes in the final against Lewis and Paul Waring, with another trip up the sixth unable to separate the teams. It meant the tournament was decided by a nearest the pin shootout for the first time in its three year history, and it was Khongwatmai - 29 years his team-mate's junior at just 20 years old - who hit his tee shot to concession range to claim the win.

The sixth hole, with its tee shot over a swimming pool and party atmosphere provided incredible scenes throughout the event, not least Jaidee's hole-in-one to eliminate Ireland in the group stages.

But even the 49-year-old, with 393 European Tour appearances and eight wins under his belt coming into this week, admitted that he had never experienced anything like these two days of six hole modified greensomes, which ended with the team-mates jumping into the pool to celebrate.

"I'm lucky today," said Jaidee. "We played well today but I think the teamwork was very important. I'm very happy to win again. I never won in two, three years but now is a good time to win and thank you to my partner, Phachara."

Khongwatmai added: "It was really fun and really fun to play with Thongchai for Thailand. He taught me about the format of the game and I'm really happy to have Thongchai, so happy. "

After winning Group B on day one, Thailand beat Scotland and Spain to set up the clash with Group A winners England, who defeated Sweden and Italy in the knockout stages.

Waring went over the back of the green with England's approach to the first in the final and they could not get up and down, allowing Thailand to take an early lead with a routine par. Both teams missed the green at the second and while both recovery shots were poor, a pair of two putts meant the hole was halved in bogeys.

On the par three third Lewis put his tee shot to tap-in range and when Khongwatmai saw his putt from just off the green hit the pin and stay up, it was 1-1. A pair of pars followed on the fourth under the shot clock and while England made par on the next with relative ease, Jaidee had to hole an 11 footer to keep things level heading to the sixth.

Waring put his tee shot to five feet to heap the pressure on but Jaidee took the same line and saw his ball roll five feet past past Waring's. Khongwatmai could not make the birdie putt but neither could Lewis and the players headed back to the tee for a play-off.

Khongwatmai left Jaidee with 12 feet for birdie but he missed and when Lewis missed his second chance from seven feet, history would be made on the third trip down the last.

"I'm gutted,  I'm genuinely gutted," said Lewis. "We've come a long way and we played so many good matches but we slipped up a little bit in the beginning a couple of times and that handed them a little bit of confidence. We did well to make it to the playoff and unfortunately didn't make the putts."

Thailand beat Scotland 2-1 in the last eight as Khongwatmai gave them a perfect start when he nearly drove the first, while Jaidee's excellent tee shot on the third was enough in the semi-finals for a 1-0 win over Spain, who missed good birdie chances on the first and second. England had taken an early 2-0 lead against Alexander Bjork and Joakim Lagergren in the quarter-finals before Bjork grabbed a hole back with a stunning tee shot on the third.

The semi-final saw Italy bogey the first before Lewis hit a wonderful tee shot at the third and make a 15 foot birdie on the fifth in a 3-0 win.

Spaniards Jorge Campillo and Nacho Elvira needed just four holes to beat Italy in the third/fourth place play-off, making birdies thanks to wonderful iron shots on the first, third and fourth, while the second was halved in bogeys. Italian pair Lorenzo Gagli and Edoardo Molinari had earlier beaten France in a nearest the pin play-off in the quarter-finals, while Spain were 2-1 winners over Australia in their last-eight contest.


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