Rory McIlroy cruises to seven-shot victory at RBC Canadian Open

June 9, 2019

Rory McIlroy, Matt Kuchar and Webb Simpson shared the 54-hole lead at the RBC Canadian Open, but one player broke away from the pack on Sunday and made the battle for second place the most interesting race of the day.

Who won: Rory McIlroy (nine-under 61, 22 under overall)

How it happened: What was setting up to be a thrilling final round of the RBC Canadian Open quickly turned into a McIlroy victory parade at Hamilton Golf & Country Club. McIlroy birdied the first two holes and four of the first five, and he turned in five-under 30. Kuchar, who was among those tied with McIlroy before the round started, was in the group ahead of McIlroy, and even though Kuchar shot two under on the front he was three back when McIlroy made the turn. And McIlroy didn’t slow down on his second nine. He ripped off four straight birdies from Nos. 11-14 and pushed his lead to eight. McIlroy bogeyed the 16th but rebounded on 17, hitting a 341-yard drive and then knocking an iron to inside three feet for a kick-in eagle. McIlroy bogeyed the 18th, but the tournament was over hours earlier. Shane Lowry (67) and Simpson (68) tied for second at 15 under.

Why it matters: It’s McIlroy’s 16th PGA Tour win and first since his Players Championship victory in March. It’s also the perfect week of momentum heading into next week’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. McIlroy, already among the favorites to win at Pebble, is looking for his first major title since 2014. He won his only U.S. Open in 2011.

Best streak: The fourth of McIlroy’s four straight birdies came on 14, when he rolled this in from 31 feet.

Best shot when it mattered: Needing a strong finish to qualify for this year’s British Open played in his hometown of Portrush, Northern Ireland, Graeme McDowell sank a 29-foot par putt on the par-4 18th to shoot 68 and finish 10 under overall, tying for 8th. It was enough to secure his spot next month, as the top-three players inside the top 10 not already qualified punched their tickets.

Up next: The 119th U.S. Open begins on Thursday at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif. Brooks Koepka is looking for his second straight major title and third straight U.S. Open victory. Tiger Woods also returns to the site of his 15-stroke Open triumph in 2000.