Dominant McIlroy enjoys a pleasant Sunday stroll to victory
RORY McILROY cantered to victory at the Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina, having done the hard work already with his stunning third-round 61.
After those 11-under-par pyrotechnics on Saturday, a repeat was neither likely nor necessary and the world number one could happily settle for a Sunday stroll to a three-under 69 and a 21-under-par total. That was enough for a seven-stroke winning margin over playing partner Webb Simpson and Patrick Rodgers, who shared second on 14 under.
It is McIlroy's second win at Quail Hollow, having triumphed in this tournament in 2010 when he finished with six successive threes in a final-round 62 - a course record until he bettered it this weekend.
The 26-year-old said: "The golf course sets up perfectly for me. I had a goal today to birdie the par fives and the two drivable par fours, the eighth and the 14th. I felt if I made six birdies there was no chance of anybody catching me.
"I did what I wanted the last few weeks, got a couple of wins, got myself up the Fedex Cup standings and solidified my positions in the rankings."
An early dropped shot at the second was forgotten about by the time McIlroy reached the turn, having birdied the par-five fifth and seventh. He hit a superb 132-yard approach to within two feet of the 12th pin and pitched to a similar distance at the 14th to set up a pair of tap-in birdies, adding another at 16.
That gave him a seven-shot lead heading down the last two holes and he could afford to bogey the par-three 17th and still maintain his lead.
While he had always led comfortably, McIlroy had to be on his game as Rodgers eagled the 10th and added birdies at 11, 14 and 15. Once the Holywood man responded, though, Rodgers faded over the last couple of holes with a five-five finish costing him three strokes.
A 68 was still enough to match Simpson's final tally after the latter shot 72, with his five birdies offset by three bogeys and a double at the sixth.
Fourth place was shared by Phil Mickelson, Gary Woodland and Robert Streb - the leader through the first two rounds. Mickelson was left to rue dropping five shots at the 18th across the week, with a double-bogey six in the opening round and a seven on Saturday.
Mickelson said: "I played well, played four good solid rounds - I just struggle with that darn last hole!"
Geoff Ogilvy and Justin Thomas were 11 under, the latter surging into the picture on his eventful back nine which began birdie-bogey. Thomas' tee-shot at the 13th struck the pin and he reacted with exaggerated mock anguish before calmly tapping in for a birdie two.
He gave the shot straight back at the next but holed from 38 feet for eagle at the 15th, making up at least in part for the one that got away two holes previously.
Americans Kevin Streelman, Shawn Stefani, Jason Bohn and Brendan Steele were 10 under, tied in ninth place.