CARMEL, Ind. — Rory McIlroy beat the strongest leaderboard in golf this year Sunday in the BMW Championship and joined some elite company.
McIlroy made back-to-back birdies around the turn to emerge from a four-way tie and seize control at Crooked Stick. He closed with a 5-under 67, making his only bogey on the final hole when it no longer mattered, for a two-shot victory over Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood.
Everyone knew Boy Wonder was a special player when he won the U.S. Open last summer with a record score. The last month has established him as the dominant player in golf, with three wins in four tournaments loaded with the best players — the PGA Championship and two FedEx Cup playoff events.
McIlroy became the first player since Tiger Woods in 2009 to win in consecutive weeks on the PGA Tour, and with his sixth career win, joined Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win at least six times at age 23.
Westwood, who lost to McIlroy in the semifinals of the Match Play Championship in February, caught him with a birdie on the par-3 13th. But the weak area of his game showed up at the wrong time — a poor chip on the 14th for bogey, another pedestrian chip on the par-5 15th that led to par. He wound up with a 69.
Mickelson, tied for the lead going into the final round, was one shot behind when his approach flew the green on No. 12 and he had to scramble for bogey. Mickelson made back-to-back birdies to get within two shots of the lead, but he badly missed a 3-foot par putt on the 17th to fall three shots behind. He closed with a 70.
Woods was never seriously in the mix. Five shots behind with seven holes to play, he made three late birdies and shot 68 to tie for fourth with Robert Garrigus (69).
McIlroy is the No. 1 seed going into the FedEx Cup finale in two weeks at East Lake, but any of the top five seeds can win the Tour Championship and capture the FedEx Cup with its $10 million bonus.
McIlroy finished 20-under 268 and earned $1.44 million, pushing him to over $7.8 million for the season to effectively lock up the money title and all but assure being voted by his peers as the PGA Tour player of the year. He has four wins on tour this year — one more than Woods — and that includes a record eight-shot win at the PGA Championship.
going to ninth playoff hole
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — Paula Creamer and Jiyai Shin played until dark and still couldn’t break their deadlock in the Kingsmill Championship.
After they each parred the par-4 18th hole eight times in a playoff Sunday, darkness forced the suspension of play for the day. They will resume this morning on the par-4 16th hole.
Both were willing to try to play a ninth extra hole Sunday.
The playoff is the longest between two players in LPGA Tour history, breaking the mark of seven set in Cristie Kerr’s victory over Seol-An Jeon in the 2004 LPGA Takefuji Classic. Jo Ann Prentice won the longest playoff overall, taking the 1972 Corpus Christi Civitan Open on the 10th extra hole.
Creamer took a one-stroke lead into the final hole of regulation, but three-putted — missing a 5-footer for par — for a bogey to fall into the playoff. Creamer finished with an even-par 71, and Shin shot a 69, leaving them tied at 16 under on Kingsmill’s River Course.
They had already missed their flight to England for the Women’s British Open.
Hanson claims KLM Open
HILVERSUM, Netherlands — Sweden’s Peter Hanson won the KLM Open for his fifth European Tour title, holing a 35-foot eagle putt on the final hole for a two-stroke victory.
Hanson finished at 14-under 266 on the Hilversumsche course. Scotland’s Richie Ramsay and Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal tied for second.