(Reuters) – Rory McIlroy threatened to shoot 59 as he made his Canadian Open debut a great one, clinching a massive seven-stroke victory in Ontario on Sunday.
Needing to birdie the par-four 18th to card golf’s magic number, the Northern Irishman pushed his approach into a bunker at Hamilton Golf & Country Club and made a bogey.
Nevertheless, McIlroy carded a stellar nine-under-par 61 in a near-perfect confidence-booster ahead of next week’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
“Obviously this is a huge tournament to win, I’m very proud of myself, but going forward for this season, to play the way I did in a final round like this, I’m going to take a lot from this and I’m excited for next week,” McIlroy told CBS television in a greenside interview as the huge crowd chanted his name.
“I said from the start I wanted to be aggressive. I played with so much freedom yesterday and I just wanted to keep that going today. Tied for the lead going out and playing with that freedom, it gives me so much confidence.”
McIlroy finished at 22-under 258, while Irishman Shane Lowry (67) and American Webb Simpson (68) tied for second place on 15-under.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ken Ferris)