McIlroy rallies for record 4th Wells Fargo title

STEVE REED Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Rory McIlroy is heading into the PGA Championship with full steam ahead.

McIlroy won the Wells Fargo championship for the fourth time on Sunday with another dominant performance at Quail Hollow, easily overcoming a two-stroke deficit and defeating Xander Schauffele by five shots.

No other player has won the event more than twice.

McIlroy closed with a 6-under 65 and played the last 11 holes at 6 under, even with a double bogey on the 18th hole. He finished at 17-under 267 after four straight rounds in the 60s and won his second straight PGA Tour event after teaming with Shane Lowry to win the Zurich Classic in New Orleans two weeks ago.

That should give McIlroy enough momentum to head to Kentucky for the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club, the site of his last major victory 10 years ago.

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“I’ve really gained some confidence,” McIlroy said. “My golf swing feels a lot more comfortable than before. So next week when I go to a venue where I won, it feels like the stars are aligning a little bit. But I still have a lot of golf left to play and there are a lot of great players to beat next week. I’m going into the next major of the year feeling good about myself.”

McIlroy trailed by two after Schauffele made an eagle on the par-5 seventh, but the world’s No. 2 player quickly switched gears.

The Northern Ireland star pulled even after birdies at Nos. 8 and 9 and then made a 30-foot Eagle Putt at the 10th for his first lead of the tournament after Schauffele settled for a birdie.

Schauffele’s bogey at 12 gave McIlroy more breathing room.

McIlroy then essentially sealed the win on 13 when he birdied and Schauffele missed another putt for bogey, resulting in a four-shot lead.

He made another birdie on 14 and then punctuated the victory by chipping in another eagle from the sand on No. 15 to move to 19 under, completing a remarkable stretch of eight holes of play at 8 under par.

“He’s Rory McIlroy, you know?” said Schauffele. “He hits it 300 yards in the air downwind and he has shorter clubs on firm greens than anyone else. When it’s on, it’s on. Hats off to him for winning. He played incredibly well.”

At that point, the only question was whether McIlroy could equal his own course record of 61 and tournament record of 21 under.

But he managed to smile as he blew his second shot on No. 18 over the green into the water and had to take a drop. He scored a double bogey win as the crowd chanted his name.

“I birded mine and then I just started running so I can continue on this golf course for whatever reason,” McIlroy said. “Quail Hollow, Charlotte has generally been very good to me throughout my career and this is just another great day to add to the rest.”

McIlroy’s finish was reminiscent of 2010, when he hit six consecutive 3s en route to a final-round 62 to beat Phil Mickelson for his first career PGA Tour victory. He also won the event in 2015 and 2021.

McIlroy has long called Quail Hollow one of his favorite courses because it allows him to take advantage of his length off the tee. But it was his putting that won him his 26th career PGA Tour title on Sunday.

He needed just 25 putts, five of which were longer than 10 feet.

For Schauffele it was a disappointing end to a strong week.

He finished second for the second year in a row and saw his winless drought extend to 39 tournaments, a streak dating back to 2022. He led by four shots after 36 holes.

Byeong Hun An finished third at 9 under, and Jason Day and Sungjae Im finished in fourth place at 6 under.

McIlroy thanked his mother Rosie, who was in Florida, after the Mother’s Day win.

“My mom is great,” McIlroy said. “I think most people know my dad, but my mom is the kind of rock or gel that holds our family together, she always has been. I said this last night: I’m probably a lot more like my dad than I am. ” I am my mother, but I wish I was a little more like my mother sometimes.”

Max Homa submitted the photo of the day.

Homa holed from the rough from 213 yards for an eagle on No. 1, his ball landing on the front of the green and rolling all the way back before hitting the flagstick hard and falling in. But the two-time Wells Fargo champion couldn’t build on the momentum after that, shooting 72 to finish in ninth place.