CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Rory McIlroy became the first two-time winner in the Wells Fargo Championship with a dominating seven-shot victory Sunday over Webb Simpson and Patrick Rodgers.
The top-ranked McIlory closed with a 3-under 69 to finish at 21-under 267, shattering the tournament record by five strokes. He entered Sunday with a four-stroke lead over Simpson after a course-record 61 on Saturday.
“I’m really happy with my game and everything is firing on all cylinders,” McIlroy said.
Rodgers, playing on a sponsor exemption, was the only player to mount a serious challenge, getting within three shots after a birdie at No. 15. He finished with a 68, and Simpson shot a 72.
It is McIlroy’s second victory in the past three weeks and his 11th on the PGA Tour. He won the Match Play Championship this month in San Francisco.
He has six top-10 finishes in his last eight PGA Tour starts.
“It’s impressive,” Phil Mickelson said about McIlroy’s tournament.
McIlroy got off to a shaky start with a three-putt bogey on No. 2 – his first in 167 holes – but quickly pulled it together. He didn’t have another bogey until the 17th hole, when he had built a seven-stroke lead and outcome was already decided.
Simpson failed to capitalize on McIlroy’s early mistake, shooting 37 on the front nine that included a double bogey on the par-3 sixth when he three-putted from 8 feet. That dropped the Charlotte resident six shots back and he never was in contention again.
McIlroy reached 20 under on No. 12 when he knocked his approach shot from 132 yards to 2 feet of the cup for a tap-in birdie and it looked as if he might coast the rest of the way.
But Rodgers, who earned his first top-25 finish on the PGA Tour, made it interesting when he played a seven-hole stretch in 6-under par, sparked by an eagle on the par-5 10th hole. But McIlroy didn’t flinch when Rodgers drained a 15-foot putt on No. 15 to pull within three shots of the lead.
Instead, McIlroy countered by rolling in a birdie putt on his own on No. 14, moving to 21 under and regaining a four-shot cushion.
McIlroy then put an exclamation point on the win by drilling his approach shot from 145 yards to within three feet on No. 16 for his tournament-record 27th birdie.
Rodgers ran out of gas on No. 17 when he dunked his tee shot in the water on the pesky par-3 17th hole and took a double bogey to fall seven shots back. Still, it was a solid finish for Rodgers, who earned an automatic berth in The Colonial next week by virtue of his top-10 finish.
“It has given me a lot of confidence moving forward,” Rodgers said.