Rory wins with 44-foot eagle putt

Rory McIlroy rallied again, holing a 44-foot eagle putt on the final hole to beat Jim Furyk, 1 up, and advance to the final of the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship against Gary Woodland at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

McIlroy, who had to return at 6:45 a.m. to finish off Paul Casey of England with a three-foot birdie putt on the 23rd hole of their semifinal match, trailed late in three of his last four matches before pulling out victories.

“When I was 1 down (to Furyk) on the 15th hole, I just told myself that I have been in this position before in other matches and it gave my confidence,” said McIlroy, who has played like the No. 1 player in the World Golf Rankings he is with his late heroics this week.

“I’ve felt very comfortable in those situations when I was behind and I thought the last three holes set up well for me with my length off the tee. I just thought if I kept hitting good shots and making putts things would go my way.”

McIlroy was 2 down to Billy Horschel after 15 holes in the final match of pool play on Friday, but birdied the last three holes of regulation to force a playoff, which he won with a par on the 20th hole.

Casey was 1 up on McIlroy in the quarterfinals before making a bogey on the 17th hole and the Irishman won with a three-foot birdie putt on the 23rd hole on Sunday morning.

Furyk had a 1-up lead after 16 holes before McIlroy hit his tee shot to within four feet at No. 17 and made the birdie putt, before stealing the match with his closing bomb for eagle.

Woodland, who like McIlroy is 6-0 this week, was 2-down after five holes against Danny Willett of England, but turned things around with three straight birdies and went on to a 3-and-2 victory, wrapping it up with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole.

“I got off to a good start hitting the ball, but didn’t make any putts,” said Woodland, who was knocked out in the first round of his two previous appearances in this tournament when it was played under a single elimination format.

“Then I made a putt on the sixth hole and it got me going. I played really solid on the back nine.”

The title match and the consolation match between Furyk and Willett were played later Sunday.

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