ANCASTER, Ontario (AP) — Rory McIlroy ran away with the Canadian Open, closing with a 9-under 61 on Sunday for a seven-shot victory.
Starting the day in a three-way tie for the lead, McIlroy ended any suspense about who would emerge as the champion with five birdies in his first seven holes, none from longer than 8 feet.
It was McIlroy’s 16th PGA Tour victory and 25th win worldwide, and the fourth by at least seven shots. The world’s fourth-ranked player will hope to ride the momentum into next week’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
The only question on the back nine was whether McIlroy would shoot the 11th sub-60 round in PGA Tour history. He made four straight birdies from Nos. 11-14, and a bogey on the par-3 16th stalled him only momentarily. He followed with a 7-iron from 196 yards to 2½ feet for eagle on the par-5 17th to get to 10 under at par-70 Hamilton Golf and Country Club.
But he missed the green on the par-4 18th and his bunker shot went long. He ended up tapping in for bogey to finish at a tournament-record 22-under 258. The 61 equaled the low round of McIlroy’s PGA Tour career.
Shane Lowry and Webb Simpson tied for second at 15 under.
Adam Hadwin, seeking to become the first Canadian winner of the event since 1954, closed with a 70 and finished sixth, 10 shots back. His consolation prize was a spot in the British Open at Royal Portrush in July.
Graeme McDowell also earned his place in the British Open. The native of Portrush, Northern Ireland, guaranteed a tee time in his hometown by holing a hard-breaking 29-footer for par on the par-4 18th to shoot 68 and finish in a tie for eighth. This year’s Open will be the first in Northern Ireland since its only previous visit to Royal Portrush in 1951.
A third spot was available at the British Open for a player not already eligible who finished inside the top 10, but the other top-10 finishers were exempt from qualifying.
The victory in McIlroy’s Canadian Open debut was his fifth in a national open, following the U.S. Open (2011), Australian Open (2013), British Open (2014) and Irish Open (2016). McIlroy also counts the Hong Kong Open (2011) as part of his national-championship tally.