Rory McIlroy storms to two-shot win at Deutsche Bank Championship
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 06/09/16 1:09pm
Rory McIlroy returned to winning ways as he produced arguably his best performance of the year to claim a two-shot victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
McIlroy defied the blustery conditions on the final day at TPC Boston to fire a superb six-under 65 which proved beyond overnight leader Paul Casey, who littered his card with four bogeys and stumbled to a disappointing 73.
Such a victory looked out of reach when McIlroy triple-bogeyed his third hole in the opening round to slip to four-over par on Friday, but he backed up his impressive long-game with a vastly improved putting display to clinch his 12th PGA Tour title, and his first since winning the Wells Fargo Championship in May last year.
McIlroy, who started the final round six shots behind Casey, missed a good chance from 12 feet at the first but he found the par-five second in two and two-putted for birdie, and then added another at the driveable fourth thanks to a delightful bunker escape to two feet.
The world No 5 did well to get up and down to save par at the sixth, and his sublime bunker play set up another birdie at the next before his new-found confidence on the greens shone through when he holed from just inside 20 feet at the eighth.
McIlroy made it three straight birdies with an assured 10-foot putt at nine to complete an outward 31, although he mis-read a great chance from seven feet at the 11th before atoning at the next.
The 27-year-old rolled in his sixth birdie putt of the day from 22 feet for his second three of the tournament at 12, where he carded a seven on day one and a double-bogey six in the third round.
McIlroy grazed the hole at both 13 and 14, and he recovered from a poor tee-shot at 16 with a rock-solid two-putt par from 75 feet before he blotted his card at the penultimate hole, where he pulled a long-iron into the rough and came up 35 yards short and into sand with his second.
He limited the damage to a bogey and then pushed his second to the long 18th into the right greenside bunker, but another near-perfect splash-out left him a tap-in for a closing birdie which restored his two-shot lead on 15-under par.
Casey needed an eagle to force extra holes and he gave himself a chance when he found the back of the green in two, but raced his 60-foot putt past the pin and then missed the return as McIlroy celebrated a remarkable victory in the clubhouse.
The Englishman went into the round on the back of three straight 66s, but his form deserted him as early as the second, where he flirted with the water with a poor third from less than 100 yards and took three more to get down.
Casey three-putted the fifth from 70 feet to drop another shot, although he clawed one back with a nice 12-foot putt for a three at the seventh only to give it back at 11, missing from five feet for par.
He responded positively as he converted a precise approach to 10 feet at 13, but he raced a birdie putt 10 feet beyond the target on the next green and failed to make the return.
Casey kept himself in contention with superb up-and-downs to salvage pars at the 16th and 17th, but was unable to emulate his closing eagle of the third round and had to settle for outright second place.
Jimmy Walker won the race for third after an erratic finish, mixing three birdies with a pair of bogeys over the last five holes to return a 70 and close on 12 under, while Adam Scott was a shot further back after a flawless 65 - storming home in 29 with three straight birdies from the 10th and another three-in-a-row to finish.
Meanwhile, Olympic champion Justin Rose was firmly in the mix on 11 under at the turn, but he endured an astonishing collapse as he dropped 10 shots in a horrific six-hole stretch which included triple-bogeys at both the 13th and 16th holes.