Rory McIlroy Wins PGA Tour Playoff Event for Third Title of 2012

Rory McIlroy surged into the lead at the Deutsche Bank Championship and then held on for a one-shot win at the U.S. PGA Tour playoff event, a victory that came three weeks after he captured the PGA Championship.

McIlroy, the No. 1 golfer in the Official World Ranking, shot a 4-under-par 67 yesterday at the TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts, to finish with a four-round total of 20-under par 264. South African Louis Oosthuizen, who took a three-shot lead into the final round, finished second at 19 under par, while Tiger Woods placed third at 18 under.

McIlroy receives $1.44 million for the victory, which was his fifth on the PGA Tour and his third this year, having also won the Honda Classic in March and then his second major title last month at the PGA Championship on Kiawah Island, South Carolina. The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland said his experience after winning the 2011 U.S. Open has taught him how to quickly refocus after an important victory.

“I took three weeks off after the U.S. Open to sort of do a lot of media things, commitments, celebrate a bit and try and get ready for the Open Championship,” McIlroy said at a news conference. “I had a lot going on at that time, and probably didn’t handle it the best. But I learned from it, and as soon as I won the PGA, I tried to refocus my mind and focus it on the FedExCup Playoffs, and I’ve done that.”

McIlroy joined Woods as the only players to capture three PGA Tour titles this season.

McIlroy birdied three of his first four holes yesterday and played his first 12 holes in 5 under par, opening a three-shot lead over Oosthuizen, who was 1 over through the same stretch. Oosthuizen had birdies on the 13th and 15th holes to get back within one shot of McIlroy.

Oosthuizen Misses Birdie

After both players had bogeys at the par-4 17th hole, Oosthuizen missed a birdie putt of about 13 feet on the final hole with a chance to force a playoff.

“Once I got into the lead, I felt very comfortable and just tried to keep applying the pressure, hit fairways, hit greens, and it worked for the most part,” McIlroy said. “Had a couple wobbles coming in, but did enough in the early part of the round to have enough of a cushion to get the job done.”

Woods had birdies on four of the first nine holes yesterday before his challenge fell short as he ran off eight straight pars before closing with a birdie at the par-5 18th hole. Woods received $544,000 to become the first golfer to surpass $100 million in career earnings.

Making Progress

“My game is starting to come around,” Woods said. “I’m pleased with the progress I made this week and really pleased with the way I rolled it. I hit so many good putts all week long, so that’s a positive.”

Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson finished at 14 under, one shot better than Brandt Snedeker.

Johnson and Snedeker are vying for a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team, with captain Davis Love III set to announce his four discretionary selections today. Hunter Mahan, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Rickie Fowler and Nick Watney are among the other top American players who didn’t earn one of the eight automatic spots on the U.S. squad for the biennial team competition against Europe.

“I really want to play on the team,” Johnson said. “I really think that I can help the team, and it’s something that I really enjoy doing, so hopefully Captain Love will pick me.”

The Deutsche Bank Championship tournament included the top 100 players in the FedExCup point standings. The field will now be reduced to 70 for the BMW Championship, which is scheduled for Sept. 6-9 at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana.

Following a one-week break, the top 30 players on the points list will contend for the FedExCup title and the champion’s $10 million bonus at the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

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