Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland claimed his third FedEx Cup, more than even Tiger Woods.
The third-ranked McIlroy came from six strokes behind by shooting 4-under-par 66 in the final round to overcome top-ranked Scotty Scheffler, who led most of the way but struggled to a closing 73, winning the Tour Championship by one stroke over Scheffler and Sungjae Im of South Korea at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
Along with the trophy, McIlroy claimed the $18-million first prize.
“I really didn’t think I had much of a chance to win at the start of the round because six strokes is a lot to overcome and Scotty was playing so well,” said McIlroy, who claimed his third victory of the season and 21st of his PGA Tour. “But he struggled at the beginning and it was ballgame on at the start of the back nine, and I knew then I had a chance.
“Hat’s off to Scottie, he’s a great competitor and an even better guy, and it was great playing alongside him. I almost feel bad because he had such a great year and then just struggled today. But it’s awesome to win here and it just means an awful lot. Scottie got me at the Masters and I got him this time.
“It’s just great to win this great tournament on the best tour in golf.”
McIlroy, who hit his opening tee shot of the first round out of bounds and started with a triple-bogey 7, started with only a bogey in the final round before collecting four of his six birdies on the front nine to close the gap and eventually finished at 21-under.
Scheffler, who won four times this season, and McIlroy were tied for the lead when Rory went ahead to stay with a 32-foot birdie putt on the 15th hole, and he followed that with a clutch seven-foot par putt at No. 16 before closing with two more pars that were just enough.
After starting at 10-under par in the unique format of the Tour Championship because he led the FedEx Cup point standings, Scheffler shot 65-66-66 over the first three rounds, coming back on Sunday morning after the third round was halted by inclement weather and building his lead back from one stroke to six by making four birdies on the last six holes.
However, Scheffler made bogeys on three of the first five holes of the final round before making his only birdie on the eighth hole ahead of eight pars and one more bogey on the 16th hole coming home.
“There are a few shots I’d like to take back, especially the drive on No. 16,” said Scheffler, who had three seconds and a third this season in addition to his first four PGA Tour victories. “I just didn’t play well enough today and Rory played great, and he deserved to win. I didn’t get off to a good start and play the way I did the rest of the week.
“It was unfortunate that I wasn’t able to finish if off because I played so well all week, and all season for that matter, but today just wasn’t my day. I wanted to finish with another win and I fought hard today, but just wasn’t able to do it.
“Sure, I made a lot of money, but I don’t play for money, I play to win.”
Im, who claimed his second PGA Tour victory this season in the Shriners Children’s Open, shot 67-65-66-66 to finish even with Scheffler at 20-under, collecting seven birdies and one bogey in the final round.
However, he will remember making a double-bogey 6 after a wild driving on the 16th hole and having to settle for only a par-5 after hitting a perfect drive on the final hole.
“My goal this week was to finish top 5, and to be finishing this high up is very unexpected,” said Im, who has won five times as a pro. “I’m glad how everything came out together.”
Fifth-ranked Xander Schauffele, the 2021 Olympic Gold Medalist from La Jolla and San Diego State, finished three shots back in solo fourth after a 69, while seventh-ranked Justin Thomas, the PGA champion, birdied the last two holes for a 68 and was four down in a tie for fifth with Max Homa of Valencia and Cal, who birdied two of the last three for a second straight 66 following a 62.
Fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA, who won the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup last year, made two birdies and two bogeys for a 70 and was one more down in a tie for seventh with Sepp Straka of Austria, who birdied the last hole for a 68, while Tony Finau was six strokes behind in solo ninth after collecting five birdies on the back nine in a 64, followed by Tom Hoge, who was seven down in 10th following a 69.
Sixth-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain shot 71 and wound up in a tie for 15th that included 10th-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick of England, the U.S. Open champion who closed with a 70, while second-ranked Cameron Smith of Australia, the 150th Open champion, was 20th after making birdies on the last two holes for a 69, and eighth-ranked Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal finished with a 73 to tie for 21st.
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