UK & World News

  • 21 July 2014, 0:21

Rory McIlroy Wins Open Championship

Rory McIlroy claimed his first Open title at Royal Liverpool but Sunday was far from the expected stroll for the Northern Irishman.

McIlroy held his nerve admirably, making a two-putt birdie on 16 to stretch his lead to three.

He followed that by getting up and down from 40 yards at 17 for a par, then made par five at 18 for a one-under 71.

McIlroy finished two shots clear of Garcia - who endured yet another near-miss at a major championship despite a closing 66 - and American Ricky Fowler.

Fowler birdied three of the last four holes to card a 67 and has now finished fifth, second and second in the year's majors.

It is the 10th time that Garcia has finished in the top five at a major and he is still to break his duck.

In stark contrast, his third major title means McIlroy will head to Augusta next year bidding to complete a career grand slam at the age of 25.

McIlroy is already the first European player to win three different majors since the Masters was founded in 1934. Even greats such as Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros won just two of the four.

He becomes just the third man in the modern era after Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus to win three majors by the age of 25.

Back up to second in the world rankings, McIlroy needs to win the Masters to join Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only men to have won all four majors. He led by four shots going into the final round at Augusta in 2011 only to collapse to a closing 80.

McIlroy is the second wire-to-wire winner of a major in succession after Martin Kaymer won the US Open at Pinehurst last month by eight shots, the same margin by which McIlroy won the 2011 US Open and 2012 US PGA Championship.

The winner said: "It feels incredible. Today wasn't easy, there were a few guys making runs at me. I just needed to stay focused and just concentrate on what I was doing out there.

"To have three of the four majors at the age of 25 is a pretty good achievement, and it's not going to sink in for a while."