After a handful of close calls following a difficult spring, Rory McIlroy finished off 2023 Scottish Open with back-to-back birdies to close out the prelude to the Open Championship next week with his first PGA Tour win of 2023 and 24th of his career.
McIlroy led going into the final round at the Renaissance Club on Sunday, but Scotland native Robert MacIntyre had pulled into the lead. After pulling into a tie after the 17th hole, McIlroy—from nearby Northern Ireland—hit his second shot on the par-4 18th to about 10 feet from the pin.
After struggling with putts at the U.S. Open Championship, McIlroy got the job done this time. He drained the birdie putt for the win.
“The two iron shots I hit, 5-iron on 17, and then that 2-iron into the last there, they are two of the best iron shots I can remember hitting,” he said, “especially under the circumstances.”
“Rory McIlroy’s potentially the best in the world, and he showed why today,” said MacIntyre, who was seeking his first win on either the PGA Tour or DP World Tour. This was a joint event by both circuits.
It was a big win for Rory McIlroy, who famously missed the cut at The Masters this year and then took a short break from golf. He returned strong, finishing his last five events in the top 10, and he returned to the winner’s circle on Sunday.
Now, McIlroy will remain in the spotlight as he looks to win a major for the first time in nine years as he and the world’s best golfers head to Royal Liverpool for the British Open. But before that, McIlroy will enjoy winning this tournament and the prestige that comes with it.
“I came here this week, we are obviously on the eve of The Open Championship, but you know, you’re thinking about trying to prepare for that. But then you know you think about the weight that this tournament carries, being co-sanctioned for Race to Dubai, FedExCup, all the stuff at the end of the year as well.”
MacIntyre shot a Sunday-best 64 and, if it wasn’t for McIlroy’s comeback, he would’ve had the big hometown victory. MacIntyre’s 14-under 266 was just short of the winning score by one stroke. Even so, it was a special moment for the Scot.
“I’ll never forget it,” MacIntyre said after jumping up 11 spots on Sunday. “That’s why I play this sport. If not The Open, the Scottish Open will be up there with the event I want to play for the rest of my life. It’s the one I’ve dreamed of winning since I watched it at home, and I thought today coming down once I birdied 18, I thought this might be the one. But it’s not to be just now, and plenty of years ahead.”
The two were far ahead of the competition. In a three-way tie for third at -10 stood Scottie Scheffler, Byeong Hun An, and David Lingmerth.
Check more 2023 Scottish Open Highlights
The best from the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and LIV Golf will head to England for the 151st Open Championship this week. LIV’s Cameron Smith is the defending champion; he outdueled McIlroy during the final round at St. Andrews last year.
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