McIlroy wins Players Championship by one stroke in Florida

(Reuters) – Rory McIlroy emerged as the last man standing in a wild final round to win the Players Championship by one shot from American Jim Furyk in Ponte Vedra, Florida on Sunday.

Mar 17, 2019; Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, USA; Rory McIlroy plays his shot from the 18th tee during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass – Stadium Course. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

McIlroy overcame an early double-bogey and fought back in style to card two-under-par 70 in a fluctuating breeze at TPC Sawgrass, becoming the first from Northern Ireland to capture the title.

With Furyk already in the clubhouse after a gimme birdie at the final hole, the 29-year-old McIlroy knew what he had to do as he played the final three holes.

He used his power to reach the par-five 16th in two shots and a tap-in birdie gave him the lead.

McIlroy then safely negotiated the water-lined final two holes with tap-in pars to clinch the most prestigious tournament outside the four majors.

He will head to the Masters next month brimming with confidence. McIlroy needs a victory at Augusta National to complete the grand slam of all four modern majors.

After close calls in every tournament he had contested this year, McIlroy seemed sanguine after finally closing the deal.

“It’s very special,” he told Sky Sports.

“I just tried to treat it like another day, even though I’ve had all those close calls this year.

“If anything they were good for me. All those experiences this year led me to this point and ultimately they were good for me because they got me over the line today.”

Furyk shot 67 for second place on 15-under, with Englishman Eddie Pepperell (66) and Venezuelan Jhonattan Vegas (66) another stroke back in a tie for third.

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ken Ferris

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