Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.
Three clear with six holes to play, the 23-year old went to the par-five 18th just one in front of the overnight leader, who birdied the 13th and 15th to set up a nail-biting finish in the second FedEx Cup play-off event. The 2010 Open champion, who failed to produce the fireworks that saw him shoot 63 on Sunday, had a chance to level matters going to the last.
Oosthuizen went for the green in two but sprayed his approach short and right into greenside rough from where he pitched to 12 feet after McIlroy had wedged to 20 feet in three from the fairway. The Holywood star had a chance to win the title with a birdie but his 20 footer stopped on the lip, leaving Oosthuizen with a slippery putt to force a play-off. Fortunately for McIlroy’s hopes, his 12 footer slipped past the edge and he signed for a level par 71 to become the 14th overnight leader to fail to win on the PGA Tour this season.
After pocketing a cheque for $1.44m, a relieved McIlroy confessed that it was a case of surviving a nervy finish. Delighted to win for the fifth time in the US and match Tiger Woods with three wins this year, McIlroy said: “That was all about survival. I didn’t finish it off the way I would have liked but I got there in the end.
“I am very happy. It’s the third victory of the year, great to get a victory in these playoffs and it sets me up by putting me in a great position going into the next two weeks.”
While it wasn’t McIlroy’s biggest final round comeback to win on the PGA Tour—he was four behind at Quail Hollow in 2010—the 23-year old superstar produced a grinding performance that confirmed his status as the best player in the world.
Tiger Woods was never really a threat, despite finishing two shots behind at the finish to become the first man to earn over $100 million in prize money on the PGA Tour. Six behind at the start, the 14-time major winner made four birdies in his first nine holes before the birdies dried up on the back nine. Yet while he gave himself a 23 foot eagle chance at the last to get to 19 under and put pressure on the leaders, he missed it and finished third on 18 under after a closing 66.
Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.