US Open: Rory McIlroy wins first major at Congressional

By Rob Hodgetts BBC Sport

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy completed a remarkable four days to clinch his first major title with an eight-shot victory in the US Open.

McIlroy became the youngest US Open champion since Bobby Jones in 1923 and the youngest major winner since Tiger Woods triumphed at the Masters in 1997.

The 22-year-old broke a host of scoring records and shot a final-round 69 to end 16 under par at Congressional.

Australian Jason Day (68) was second, with Lee Westwood (70) tied in third.

Alongside Westwood were Yang Yong-Eun (71) of South Korea and Americans Kevin Chappell (66) and Robert Garrigus (70).

McIlroy banished memories of his Masters meltdown, when he blew a four-shot lead going into the final day, and marched to a first major title at his 10th attempt as a professional.

He led from start to finish, carding 65, 66, 68, 69 to post a tournament record total of 16-under 268, four better than the previous mark.

Leaving his rivals in his wake, he became the quickest player in the 111-year history of the US Open to reach 10 under par (after 26 holes), the first player to go beyond 12 under, reaching as much as 17 under on Sunday, and also recorded the best 36 and 54-hole totals.

He becomes the second successive Northern Irishman to win the US Open after Graeme McDowell triumphed at Pebble Beach last year and the third major champion after Fred Daly won the Open in 1947.

He is also the 11th different major winner in a row and the eighth of those 11 to be clinching their first major title. For the first time in history there have been no American winners in five successive majors.

"The whole week has been incredible - I could not have asked for any more and I am so happy to hold this trophy," said McIlroy, who rises to number four in the world rankings thanks to his win.

"For such a small nation to win two US Opens in a row is pretty special. As Graeme [McDowell] said last year, there will be a lot of pints of Guinness going down.

"I know a few of my friends will be partying and I can't wait to get home and join them."

During the presentation ceremony McIlroy shouted across to his father Gerry: "Happy Father's Day - this one's for you.

"I have to mention my mum too. Everything they have done for me I can't thank them enough."

McIlroy's humbling of the field - and the supposedly tough 7,574-yard Blue Course, albeit softened by recent rain - evoked memories of Woods, who was 21 when he won the 1997 Masters by 12 shots to capture the first of his 14 major titles. He did, however, fall short of Woods's record 15-stroke victory when winning the US Open at Pebble Beach in 2000.

"I know how good Tiger was in 2000 to win by 15 in Pebble. I was trying to go out there and emulate him in some way," McIlroy added.

With an eight-shot lead going into the final round, McIlroy showed few signs of nerves and opened with a birdie, stretching his lead to 10 shots, with another at the fourth to get to 17 under.

He birdied the short 10th after hitting his tee shot to six inches and made only his second bogey of the week after driving into sand on the 12th.

Like Woods at his best, McIlroy made a number of crucial putts for par to keep up the momentum but he was really competing in his own tournament. He got back to 17 under with another birdie at the long 16th but, with the title in his pocket, he leaked his first three-putt of the week on the 17th to drop a shot. A safe par at the last gave him the fourth highest winning margin in US Open history.

"Unbelievable," said Gerry McIlroy. "With what's happened over the last couple of months, and to come back and do this, it's fantastic. After the Masters, he worked so hard. It's fantastic. You couldn't beat it."

Behind, a fierce battle was raging for the minor places. Westwood, who began the day nine shots back in third, had the wind knocked out of his sails when he found the water on the sixth, while Frederik Jacobson was flying until he four-putted the 12th green.

Chappell and Garrigus launched late surges, while Yang, playing with McIlroy in the final group, slipped back with two bogeys in his last four holes.

Day had a bogey-free round to secure his second successive runner-up spot in majors, while Sergio Garcia (70) and Peter Hanson (67) both dropped back to five under late on.

Masters champion Charl Schwartzel (66) and fellow South African Louis Oosthuizen (67), the Open champion, were tied ninth at five under.

McDowell (69) ended in a tie for 14th at two under, with England's world number one Luke Donald (69) five over and five-time US Open runner-up Phil Mickelson (71) seven over.

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