McIlroy magnificent in Match Play marathon

Rory McIlroy won the WGC - Cadillac Match Play, Danny Willett was third

Rory McIlroy wins WGC - Cadillac Match Play
Rory McIlroy wins WGC - Cadillac Match Play
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy won three matches on Sunday to come through as the WGC – Cadillac Match Play champion at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, California.

Rory McIlroy won three matches on Sunday to come through as the WGC – Cadillac Match Play champion at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, California.

The World Number 1 had to finish off Paul Casey in an unfinished quarter final before going on to despatch Jim Furyk in the semis and then Gary Woodland in a one-sided final. England’s Danny Willett beat Furyk in the third and fourth place playoff to finish the tournament in third spot.

After McIlroy and Casey had failed to settle their quarter-final in encroaching darkness on Saturday night, the pair returned to Harding Park at dawn on Sunday to play their fourth extra hole. Casey played only that hole as McIlroy made an easy birdie on the par-5 1st and the Englishman failed to get up-and-down from behind the green to match him.

McIlroy then faced a quick turnaround for his semi final match against Jim Furyk. It was a great battle with the American displaying his tenacious fighting spirit and superb scrambling abilities. With two holes to play Furyk was one-up and McIlroy’s title bid looked in danger.

But the Northern Irishman dug deep and played a superb tee-shot to the par-3 17th that set up a birdie two. Then, on the final hole, McIlroy played a great second to the heart of the par-5’s green and rolled home a long putt for an eagle three and a one-up victory.

On to the final and McIlroy squared up against big-hitting Gary Woodland who had come through against England’s Danny Willett in the semis.

The match started scrappily with McIlroy failing to take advantage of errors by Woodland. But the four-time Major champion turned on the afterburners from the 5th with three straight birdies. He moved into a lead that, despite a small fight-back from Woodland at the start of the back nine, proved to be unassailable. McIlroy closed out the win by 4&2. It was a second WGC title for the Brit, following the Bridgestone Invitational last season.

"I played really solid golf. I have got on a nice little run in match play. I got a lot of confidence from the way I played against Rickie (Fowler) in the Ryder Cup last year (winning 5 and 4) and just followed it on through into this,” he said. “Obviously I am delighted, a second World Golf Championship and first win in the States this year and so I could not be happier."

WGC – Cadillac Match Play TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, California Apr 29 – May 3 Purse: $9,250,000, par 72

1    Rory McIlroy (NIR)        $1,570,000 2    Gary Woodland (USA)        $930,000 3    Danny Willett (Eng)        $646,000 4    Jim Furyk (USA)            $520,000 T5    John Senden (Aus)        $285,000 T5    Tommy Fleetwood (Eng)    $285,000 T5    Louis Oosthuizen (RSA)        $285,000 T5    Paul Casey (Eng)            $285,000

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage

Fergus Bisset
Fergus Bisset

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and it was concentrated by his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?