McIlroy claims maiden Irish Open victory


Tournament host Rory McIlroy finished with a flourish to secure a maiden Irish Open title and claim his first victory of the year at The K Club on Sunday.

The world number three completed his rain-affected third round with a two-under 70 in the morning and followed that up with a 69 to finish on 12 under, three shots ahead of Bradley Dredge and Russell Knox.

McIlroy only held a slender one-shot advantage over Dredge and Knox as the final group stood at the 18th tee, but the four-time major-winner produced a sublime approach to give himself a short putt for an eagle to seal his first win since last November.

Knox replaced McIlroy at the top of the leaderboard with a birdie at 15, but the Northern Irishman responded with a third gain of his final round at the next and the Scot was brought back down to earth with a bogey.

McIlroy turned on the style at the last, giving himself a simple putt for an eagle with a sublime 253-yard approach shot from the fairway and making no mistake to pick up a EUR666,660 winning cheque, which he will donate to his charity The Rory Foundation.

Dredge birdied the last two holes to finish with a six-under 66 and take a share of second place with Knox, who closed with a 68.

Masters champion Danny Willett was three shots adrift of McIlroy heading into the final round, but a closing five-over 77 saw him plummet down the leaderboard.

Fellow Englishman Matt Southgate took fourth place - and his first top-five finish on the European Tour - with an impressive final round of 68 to move to eight under, while Martin Kaymer was two shots further back in a share of fifth.