McIlroy sets sights on Pebble Beach after winning Canadian Open

Florence Fletcher
June 12, 2019

When nine under par after 14 holes on Sunday, that target was within view.

McIlroy made four straight birdies on the back nine, starting at the par-four 11th, to put himself in contention to become just the sixth player in history to win a tournament with closing score of 59. Just putting my foot down and really making this tournament mine, " McIlroy said.

"I must have played the course 500 times in my life but not much since the (two) new holes were created, so now I'll plan a little recce mission to play the course over the coming weeks".

And it was a good day for Northern Ireland golfers as Graeme McDowell also secured his spot at The Open Championship at his home town of Portrush. "They're the oldest championships in our game for the most part", said McIlroy.

"If I were able to win tomorrow that would be my sixth and that would be something I would be very proud of".

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).

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"If I made a couple extra birdies on the back nine on Friday I would've made the cut and could have produced a weekend like this and won the tournament".

McIlroy wanted to return the favour, but had to fly to California to play in this week's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. "I've always had an appreciation for other athletes and it's one of my favourite things to do is to go and watch other sporting events and see how other athletes handle their situations and pressures". He said in the summertime when he's got some time off he basically plays 36 holes a day. "I putted really well". "You're out there playing for a lot of FedEx Cup points and a lot of cash, and all I can focus on is trying to get exempt for the Open Championship". He ranked 1st in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (+1.729), 5th in SG: Approach-the-Green (+1.224), 6th in SG: Approach-the-Green (+0.862), 6th in SG: Putting (+1.457) and 1st in SG: Total (+5.272), making him just the fourth victor to rank inside the top six in each of those statistics since 2004. His seven-shot cushion marked his fourth career win by seven or more strokes. The 2010 U.S Open champion thought he needed a birdie to be safe, and when he was left to hack out of the rough on the 17th and failed to make a four, he was left feeling despondent.

"I was a little nervous over the six-iron going into the last".

The big mover at the RBC Canadian Open was exactly who you would expect, with victor Rory McIlroy moving into second position just 120 points behind Matt Kuchar (70, T4).

McIlroy added the Canadian Open to his schedule for the first time largely because it was moved to the week before the US Open.

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