Rory McIlroy donates half a million pounds Irish Open winnings to charity
A charity set up by Rory McIlroy to better the lives of vulnerable children is half a million pounds better off after the golf star won his first Irish Open.
The tournament host produced a sensational finish last night to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat at The K Club.
McIlroy finished three shots clear of Scotland's Russell Knox and Wales' Bradley Dredge to claim the first prize of £515,000, which he will donate to his own foundation which hosted the tournament for the second year.
The Rory Foundation was established by McIlroy with the aim of bettering the lives of vulnerable children.
It has supported the creation of a short break centre in Newcastle, Co Down for children with cancer.
The Holywood-born golfer was recently named in eighth spot in the Sunday Times Giving List for celebrities, having given away £1 million of his wealth in the past year.
His donations included £780,000 to his personal foundation while he also pledged £250,000 to Mencap.
Several notable names were in attendance over the weekend including singer Niall Horan, businessman Michael Smurfit and Rory McIlroy's fiancée Erica Stoll.
Taioseach Enda Kenny was among those in the crowd yesterday on a day when play in the final round was interrupted twice by hailstorms and torrential rain.
Speaking afterwards, McIlroy said: "I don't really get emotional when I win but I was trying to hold back the tears on the 18th green, looking up and seeing all my friends and family.
"I don't get the chance to play in front of them very often so to play like that and to finish like that today, I will never forget it. I'd put winning your national open up there with winning a WGC, just below the majors.
"I was trying to stay as patient as I could but it's quite hard when you have 30,000 people roaring you on. The ovation I got when the ball landed on the 16th green sent shivers down my spine."
McIlroy's generosity in donating his prize money won praise of fellow professional golfers
Rickie Fowler tweeted: " Congrats Rors...sick shot on 16 and 18 @McIlroyRory all to a great cause @roryfoundation including the winning check...good man."
Niall Horan said: "Yessss ! Get in . Cmon rors .#irishopen #champion."