After his third win in four starts, Rory McIlroy said he’s starting to comprehend the golfing zone Tiger Woods would get into during his peak.
McIlroy solidified his standing as the world’s top-ranked player with a two-stroke victory yesterday at the BMW Championship. It was his second straight victory in golf’s FedExCup playoffs and fourth U.S. PGA Tour title of the season.
“The more you put yourself in this position and the more you win and the more you pick up trophies, it becomes normal, and it feels like this is what you’re supposed to do,” McIlroy, 23, told reporters. “I’m sure that’s how (Woods) felt when he was on that run and how he still feels. I’m getting to that stage where I’m thinking, ‘This is what I should be doing. I should be lifting a trophy at the end of the week.’”
McIlroy shot a 5-under-par 67 during yesterday’s final round at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana, to finish with a four-round total of 20-under 268.
Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood tied for second at 18 under, one shot better than Woods and Robert Garrigus.
McIlroy received $1.44 million for the victory, which bolsters his chance to claim the FedExCup’s $10 million bonus at the Tour Championship. The Northern Irishman also captured the Deutsche Bank Championship last week and won the PGA Championship by a record eight shots last month for his second career major tournament title.
“The last four weeks, five weeks have been incredible, some of the best golf that I’ve ever played,” he said. “I’m going to try and keep the run going for as long as possible.”
McIlroy joins Woods (2007), Vijay Singh (2008) and Camilo Villegas (2008) as the only golfers to win back-to-back FedExCup playoff events.
The McIlroy Show
McIlroy now has six career PGA Tour wins, with only Woods (15) and Jack Nicklaus (8) recording more before the age of 24. Woods ranks second all-time with 74 career PGA Tour wins, including 65 in an 11-year span from 1999 to 2009.
“Rory is putting on a show out there,” Woods, who shot a final-round 68, said in a televised interview.
The BMW Championship was the third of four playoff events and included the top 70 players in the FedExCup standings. Following a one-week break, the top 30 now advance to the Sept. 20-23 Tour Championship at Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club.
If a player in the top five of the FedExCup standings wins the Tour Championship, they’ll collect the $10 million bonus. McIlroy leads Woods atop the standings followed by Nick Watney, Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker.
McIlroy entered the final round tied for third place, one shot behind 54-hole co-leaders Mickelson and Singh.
After making birdies on two of his first five holes, McIlroy had a two-putt birdie at the par-5 ninth to take the lead alone at 18-under par, one better than Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Westwood. McIlroy added a birdie at the 10th to stay one ahead of Mickelson and Westwood, who each birdied the ninth.
Westwood moved into a share of the lead with a birdie at the par-3 13th, while Mickelson slipped two shots back after he flew the green with his second shot at the par-4 12th hole and made bogey. Westwood dropped a shot with a bogey at the 14th hole and McIlroy increased his lead to two strokes with a tap-in birdie at the par-5 15th hole.
McIlroy birdied three of the course’s four par-5 holes yesterday and played them in 11-under par for the week.
McIlroy, whose first win this season came at the Honda Classic in March, drained another birdie putt of almost 14 feet at the 16th hole to extend his advantage to three strokes. He made his first bogey in 27 holes at the closing hole.
Defending FedExCup champion Bill Haas was among those who failed to qualify for the Tour Championship after a tie for 45th place yesterday dropped him to 32nd in the standings.