US PGA Championship 2014: Rory McIlroy puts fourth major victory down to 'lucky' eagles on the tenth

Just when the world No 1 looked to be fading, an eagle on the turn saw him shoot back into contention before he sealed his win with a birdie at 17

World number one Rory McIlroy admitted he had enjoyed two pieces of good luck after claiming his second major title in four weeks and a third win in succession.

In a thrilling, weather-affected climax to the US PGA Championship on Sunday, McIlroy carded a closing 68 at Valhalla to finish 16 under par - one shot ahead of Phil Mickelson after a remarkable final day which finished in near-darkness in Louisville after a rain delay of almost two hours.

Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson had been part of a three-way tie for the lead with Mickelson on the back nine but dropped shots on the closing stretch to finish two behind McIlroy.

McIlroy started the day with a one-shot lead but dropped two shots in his first six holes and trailed Fowler by three as he reached the turn, only to get back into contention with an eagle on the 10th.

McIlroy battles back to claim fourth major victory

"The ball flight was probably around 30 feet lower than I intended and the line of the shot was probably around 15 yards left of where I intended," McIlroy admitted. "It was lucky, it really was.

"You need a little bit of luck in major championships to win and that was my lucky break. I didn't hit a very good shot there but it worked out well and I made eagle from it."

The second piece of luck came when McIlroy's tee shot on the 18th stopped just short of a water hazard, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler in the group ahead having stood aside on the fairway to allow the final pair to tee off.

"I want to thank Phil and Rickie for letting us tee off, if they hadn't done that we might not have been able to get it done," McIlroy said. "It showed a lot of sportsmanship and class from those two guys."

McIlroy is the first player since Padraig Harrington in 2008 to win back-to-back majors, his victories in the Open Championship and US PGA also sandwiched by a first World Golf Championship win in the Bridgestone Invitational last week.

Lifting the Wanamaker Trophy for the second time also makes the Northern Irishman the third youngest player after Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus to win four majors, just one less than the total won by the late Seve Ballesteros and two behind Nick Faldo.

"It's been just incredible," McIlroy said. "I didn't think in my wildest dreams I would have a summer like this. I just played the best golf in my life."

McIlroy, who won the 2011 US Open and 2012 US PGA by eight shots and was six clear going into the final round of the Open, added: "I gutted it out today, it was a little different to my previous major wins. I think I showed a lot of guts to get the job done."

Mickelson did not appear happy with the decision to allow McIlroy and Bernd Wiesberger to hit their approach shots to the 18th but added: "It didn't affect the outcome, I think.

"It's not what we normally do but it's not a big deal. It's a courteous thing to let the guys tee off in case they blow the horn. It gave everyone a chance to finish just in the nick of time."

Fowler has now finished fifth, second, second and third in the year's four majors but acknowledged he had let slip his first real chance to win.

"This is the first one that hurts," Fowler said. "The performance in the majors is something I can be proud of but Rory has been a deserving champion every time. We will see if we can get one away from him at some point."

PA

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Voices
Vivienne Westwood and her son Joe Corré deliver an anti-fracking letter to No 10 last week
voicesThe great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick