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Rory McIlroy, the only golfer to win the Wells Fargo Championship multiple times, can add “three-time Wells Fargo winner,” to his resume.
McIlroy, a four-time major champion, fired a 3-under 68 in the final round of the tournament Sunday to finish at 10-under for the tournament, winning by one stroke over hard-charging Abraham Ancer, who shot a final-round 66. Third-round leader Keith Mitchell faded to a tie for third with Viktor Hovland third after carding a final-round 1-over-par 72.
It was McIlroy’s first win on the PGA Tour since Aug. 25, 2019, and first Wells Fargo Championship win since 2015 when he dominated the field by seven strokes. He also won the tournament in 2010.
McIlroy, the former world No. 1 golfer, entered Sunday’s final round trailing Mitchell, by two strokes. The golfers were paired together in the final group.
McIlroy didn’t make many mistakes down the stretch, and when he did, he found a way out of it.
On the par-5 seventh, McIlroy hit his first shot into the rough under a tree. He got his second shot onto the fairway, his third shot 20 feet from the hole — and he made the 20-foot putt for a birdie.
It was his first lead of the day, and although he was tied multiple times during the final round, he never fell completely out of the lead again.
He birdied 14, which gave him the outright lead for good.
He made things interesting at 18 when he hit his drive far left into deep rough near a small creek. He took a drop and hit his next shot about 43 feet from the hole and two-putted to earn the win.
McIlroy, 32, now has 19 PGA Tour wins, which is 39th all-time, and Sunday’s result gave him a much-needed confidence boost.
From 2012 to 2014, McIlroy was arguably the most dominant golfer in the world. He’s one of two golfers to win the Fed Ex Cup twice — Tiger Woods is the other — he had gone nearly two years without winning a tournament. He hasn’t won a major since 2014.
This weekend, he was in rare form. After carding a 1-over 71 on Day 1, McIlroy posted two consecutive rounds under par to put himself in position for Sunday’s win.
McIlroy and Mitchell had the largest gallery, and the crowd roared whenever McIlroy made a big shot — like the one on Hole 7.
Mitchell and McIlroy were close all day. Mitchell took an early three-shot lead after the first, but McIlroy came back., making birdies on Holes 3 and 7, while Mitchell bogeyed Holes 5 and 6.
That’s when things changed.
Ancer, Hovland and Gary Woodland each made it interesting. They managed to tie McIlroy or get within one stroke of him. But Woodland faltered down the stretch. Even Bryson DeChambeau, who now famously had to charter a plane back to Charlotte after realizing he’d made the cut, had a great round Sunday and finished in a tie for ninth.
McIlroy, meanwhile, continued to surge ahead. He didn’t hit many fairways, but his putting was on point, as it had been all tournament. He birdied 14 and 15, which gave him a two-shot lead, and he looked like the McIlroy of old.
He was a winner again.