Rory McIlroy bags Open Championship title

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Hoylake, England, United Kingdom (4E Sports) – Rory McIlroy carded a 1-under-par 71 in the final round to win the Open Championship trophy by two strokes Sunday at Royal Liverpool.

McIlroy, who began the final round with a six-shot advantage, made four birdies and three bogeys to finish at 17-under 271, two shots ahead of Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler, who shot 66 and 67, respectively.

With the win, the 25-year-old McIlroy has claimed the third leg of a career Grand Slam. McIlroy has won a major in three of the past four years, adding The Open to his 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA Championship victories.

“It’s pretty hard to describe right now, to be honest,” McIlroy said. “I feel like I’ve come a long way in the last 18 months. A lot has happened to me on and off the golf course. My determination and hard work have really paid off.”

McIlroy made a birdie at the par-3 ninth hole Sunday to take a four-shot lead with nine holes remaining but a bogey on the par-3 13th hole cut his lead to two shots.

He played his final five holes in 1 under par, though. A birdie on the par-5 16th hole — where he reached the green with a 360-yard drive and 7-iron — gave him a three-shot lead with two holes remaining.

He missed the 17th green, but chipped to inches to maintain that lead and make for a stress-free walk up the 18th hole.

“I’m immensely proud of myself,” McIlroy said. “To sit here at 25 years of age and win my third major and be three-quarters of the way to the career Grand Slam, I never dreamed of being at this point in my career so quickly.”

McIlroy has the opportunity to win the final leg of the Grand Slam, the Masters Tournament, before his 26th birthday.

“I’m looking forward to driving up Magnolia Lane next year,” McIlroy said.

Tiger Woods, a three-time Open champion, suffered his worst finish in a major as a professional, ending in 69th place after firing a 3-over 75.

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