Rory roars early at Firestone, holds on to beat Sergio
By Bernie D'Amato under PGA Tour


Rory McIlroy overcame a three shot deficit within the first three holes at Firestone, and held on to defeat Sergio Garcia by two strokes. Rory’s victory at the WGC-Bridgestone is his first in a WGC event, and moves him to No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings.

Before the final round began, Rory said his target number was a 63. After birdieing four of the first five holes, it looked like he was going to hit his number, and runaway with the tournament. However, a bogey on 8, and a Sergio birdie on 9 tied the two players at 14-under.

Rory took a one-stroke lead with a birdie on 11, and then a case of the lefts overtook Sergio. On  the par-three 13th, Sergio hit a poor tee shot left of the green. He made an eight footer for par, but the misses to the left did not go away.

On the par-3 15th, Sergio hit his tee shot left again, and was unfortunate to have his shot end up in the rough instead of falling back into the bunker. Sergio’s bogey on 15 pushed Rory’s lead to two strokes with three holes to play.

Garcia continued to hit his drives to the left on 16 and 17, but good recovery shots gave him legitimate birdie opportunities (20 feet on 16, and 10 feet on 17). However, he was unable to capitalize, and Rory calmly made pars to claim a two-stroke victory.

After the round, Rory said, “What I’m really proud of this week is following up The Open with a performance like this. I said straight after I didn’t want any letdown, I wanted to just keep going, and keep performing well until the end of the season.”

He added, “It’s great to come to one of my favorite tournaments of the year. This really is, I love the golf course here in Akron, and to perform like this, I’m pretty satisfied.”

The PGA Championship begins this Thursday at Valhalla. Look out world, here comes Rory.

WGC-Bridgestone leader board.

–Bernie D’Amato