All the buzz about Rory McIlroy came to life yesterday at the Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte, N.C., in a round that made him the PGA Tour’s youngest winner since Tiger Woods.
The 20-year-old from Northern Ireland was 5 under par over the final five holes to set the course record at 10-under 62 and win by four shots over Masters champion Phil Mickelson.
McIlroy finished in style, rolling in a 40-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole and thrusting his fist into the air.
“I suppose I got into the zone,’’ said McIlroy, who will turn 21 tomorrow. “I just know I got my nose in front and I was just trying to stay there.’’
It capped a big day for golf’s young stars. Earlier, 18-year-old Ryo Ishikawa shot a record 58 in the final round to win on the Japan Golf Tour.
With a one-shot lead, McIlroy hit a 5-iron from 207 yards up the hill to 3 feet for eagle on the 15th. From a fairway bunker on the 16th, he hit 7-iron to 5 feet for another birdie. Then came the finish, when he knocked in a 40-foot putt that made fans leap from their chairs and made McIlroy’s freckled-face burst with joy.
He finished at 15-under 273 and won $1.17 million.
Woods, who missed the cut this week, was 20 years and 10 months when he won his first PGA Tour event in Las Vegas in 1996.
Mickelson was in the hunt until he had to play a righthanded shot from the woods on the 10th hole and made bogey. When he got around to making a charge, McIlroy already was too far ahead.
McIlroy becomes the first player since Chris Couch at New Orleans in 2006 to make the cut on the number and win the tournament.
LPGA — In Morelia, Mexico, Ai Miyazato shot a 6-under 67 to win the Tres Marias Championship for her third title of the season. The Japanese star finished 19-under 273 for the tournament, one better than Stacy Lewis (66) and two in front of Michelle Wie (68). Lorena Ochoa, who played her final round before stepping into retirement, shot 71 to finish at 280.
Champions — David Eger shot a 3-under 69 to win his first event since 2005 at the inaugural Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic in Biloxi. A 3-foot putt on the 16th hole gave Eger a two-shot lead shortly after Tommy Armour III had three-putted from 60 feet to bogey the par-3 17th. That allowed Eger, who finished at 11 under, to hold on for a one-shot victory despite a bogey on the par-4 18th.
European — Alvaro Quiros became the first local winner of the Spanish Open in eight years, winning on the first extra hole in Seville. In the playoff at the 18th hole, English rookie James Morrison pulled his approach into a lake guarding the green. Quiros only needed a par to pick up his fourth tour title and become the first Spaniard to win the tournament since Sergio Garcia in 2002. Morrison shot a 5-under 67 and Quiros a 70 to finish at 11-under 277.
Japan — Ishikawa shot a 12-under 58 in Togo, Japan — the lowest score ever on a major tour — to win The Crowns for his seventh tour title. Ishikawa tapped in for par on the 18th after his 15-foot birdie try slid inches by the cup. He had 12 birdies in his bogey-free round on the 6,545-yard Nagoya Golf Club course. Ishikawa broke the Japan Tour record of 59 set by Masahiro Kuramoto in the first round of the 2003 Acom International. On the PGA Tour, Al Geiberger, Chip Beck, and David Duval share the record at 59. Annika Sorenstam also had a 59 on the LPGA Tour.