Date: September 26, 2016
Author: Martin Blake

Glorious day for McIlroy in Atlanta

Adam Scott's consistent season in America was rewarded with a $US1.5 million cheque, but for Rory McIlroy, it was a far more lucrative day.

Scott, who won two tournaments early in the PGA Tour season, finished fourth in the Fedex Cup standings after his closing 65 at East Lake gave him a tied-sixth finish in the Tour Championship behind McIlroy.

The Australian rolled in an eagle putt at the 72nd hole to give himself a nice feeling to take into his trip home in a month to defend the World Cup title alongside Jason Day and to play the Emirates Australian Open at Royal Sydney, as well as playing the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines. Day, whose back injury forced him to withdraw during the second round, still finished sixth in the standings and picked up $US 800,000.

But it was the mercurial McIlroy's day as he continued the recent tradition of the winner of the Tour Championship also capturing the $US10 million Fedex Cup bonus prize as the leading player across the season.

The man from Northern Ireland began the Tour Championship in sixth place but with Jason Day withdrawing and Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed faltering, Europe's Ryder Cup superstar was able to reel everyone in.

First he posted a dynamic, closing 64 including a holed-out wedge for eagle at the 16th and a great up-and-down from the front trap at the 18th to put himself into a playoff with Kevin Chappell and Ryan Moore. Then he played near-flawlessly in the playoff that lasted four holes, knowing all the time that he needed to win the tournament to also win the Fedex Cup ahead of Johnson, who waited in the clubhouse.

McIlroy had a great chance to win at the first playoff hole, the 18th on the course, when he hit a gorgeous long iron to the green and two metres from the flag. But his eagle putt lipped out and birdie was only enough to extend it.

At this point, Chappell dropped out with a par but McIlroy and Moore went shot-for-shot until the fourth playoff hole, the 16th on the course, when McIlroy hit his second shot in to four metres. Moore made a remarkable long, curling putt to save par as the Irishman watched, but he stepped up and rammed the birdie putt home.

His total payout for the day is $US11.5 million, and he will swing into Ryder Cup mode next week. “There’s a lot of things that had to go well for me today, along with me playing well,” McIlroy said. “Everything just sort of aligned for me. I took advantage of that opportunity.”


McIlroy 1, Johnson 2, Reed 3, Scott 4, Casey 5, Day 6.