Rory McIlroy wins Wells Fargo Championship for first title in 18 months

CHARLOTTE, NC – Rory McIlroy found his comfort zone at Quail Hollow and walked away with a much-needed trophy.

McIlroy finished with a 3 under 68 and made it difficult for himself at the end of Sunday, driving into the obstacle to the left of the 18th fairway and needing two 45-foot putts for a one-stroke victory in the Wells Fargo Championship.

What mattered was the end of 18 months since his last victory at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, while still finding a strong semblance of his game as he prepared to return to Kiawah Island for the Championship. PGA.

“It’s never easy,” McIlroy said. “It’s been a while.”

It showed. McIlroy looked like he was about to choke on the idea of ​​winning Mother’s Day, thinking of his mother, Rosie, and his wife Erica. She was in Quail Hollow with their daughter, Poppy, and McIlroy adored them before signing his card.

McIlroy took control with two splendid bunker shots, rising and falling for birdie on the accessible 14th par-4 and 15th par-5, then standing at the end.

Abraham Ancer had three birdies in a row and nearly finished with a fourth, posting a 66 for a second-place finish, the fourth of his career as the Mexican seeks his first PGA Tour title.

McIlroy finished 10 under 274 for his 19th career win and third at Quail Hollow.

“It’s one of my favorite places in the world,” said McIlroy, who claimed his first PGA Tour title at Quail Hollow in 2010. “Breaking the drought and winning here is awesome.”

It was a tough finish for Keith Mitchell, who started the final round with a two-shot lead and quickly stretched it to three shots with a 6 iron out of a fairway bunker in a stiffening 12-foot breeze for birdie.

But his short game let him down all day, leading to bogeys on the fifth and sixth holes that cost him his lead, and on the 14th and 15th holes when he had to settle for pars after being in position. for birdies.

Mitchell, whose only victory was the Honda Classic just over two years ago, had to finish alone in second to qualify for the PGA Championship on the silver list. But he dropped a shot on the 17th and finished with a 72 tied for third with Viktor Hovland, who had a 67.

Former US Open champion Gary Woodland had a head start at the start of the back nine until he went through a bad streak of back-to-back bogeys at No.12 and 13, and was content to leave. on the next two holes. He shot 71 and finished fifth.

Bryson DeChambeau tied for ninth after a 68-68 weekend that started with his flight back to Dallas thinking he had missed the cup.

McIlroy, in addition to having gone 18 months without a win, slipped to world No.15, his lowest position in more than a decade. He brought in swing trainer Pete Cowen for an extra pair of eyes. They worked hard last week in Florida as McIlroy tried to get back to figuring out what he did so well with the golf swing.

Winning is not an instant cure. He only hit three fairways on Sunday, and the last one almost got him in trouble. His bullet landed on the hill to the left of the meandering stream, right next to the water, in a deep hole of shaggy grass. He wisely chose to take a penalty instead of snatching it, and he sent an 8 iron rising towards the green, landing safely in the grease of the putting surface.

It brought out the loudest cheers of a day filled with them. The Wells Fargo Championship had more energy than any tournament since the return of pandemic golf.

Just what McIlroy needed.

He thought he would enjoy some peace without spectators. It didn’t take long for him to realize he was lacking the energy. “To bring out the best in myself, I needed this,” he said.

And when it was over, he turned and lifted his golf ball towards thousands of fans.

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