McIlroy ends 18-month PGA win drought with Palmer title
MIAMI – Agence France-Presse
Four-time major champion McIlroy outdueled American Bryson DeChambeau and major winners Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson with an amazing putting display on the Bay Hill greens.
“It’s so nice to see everything come together finally,” McIlroy said. “I wasn’t that far away. It takes something to click into place. Something clicked into place with my putting obviously.”
McIlroy fired an eight-under par 64 to finish 72 holes on 18-under 270 and defeat DeChambeau by three strokes.
“I’m just proud of myself to hang in there over the past few months with injury and everything,” McIlroy said. “To get my first PGA win in I don’t know how long, it feels really great.” The 28-year-old from Northern Ireland took his 14th U.S. PGA Tour triumph, his first since the 2016 Tour Championship, and served notice he is a solid threat to complete a career major Grand Slam by winning the Masters in three weeks.
DeChambeau fired a closing 68 to take second on 273, one stroke ahead of England’s Rose, who fired a 67, and two in front of Sweden’s Stenson with Woods and U.S. compatriot Ryan Moore fifth on 278.
Woods, making his second comeback bid after four back operations, chased his first victory since the 2013 World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational.
The 14-time major champion, mired in the longest win drought of his career, has shown form in back-to-back weeks to excite fans for his chances at the Masters, which begins April 5.
“I felt pretty good out there,” Woods said. “I hit the ball a little better than I did last week. I felt like I putted well the entire week.”
Woods, wearing his trademark red shirt and black pants, managed his 10th consecutive PGA par-or-better round, his longest such streak in six years.