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Sunday 24 September 2017

Phil praise for 'amazing' Rory

Mickelson hails McIlroy as youngster wins first PGA title

Phil Mickelson hailed rising star Rory McIlroy as "some kind of player" after watching the 20-year-old become the youngest winner on the PGA Tour since Tiger Woods in 1996.

McIlroy found some blistering form to go 16 under par on the weekend at the Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte, setting a new course record of 62 yesterday and winning by four shots from 2010 Masters champion Mickelson.

"I've got to congratulate Rory on an incredible round," Mickelson said.

"He played some incredible golf. He's an amazing talent. He knew he was going to come out here and win because he's won all over the world. To win at 20 is incredible. He's some kind of player."



STORMED

McIlroy, who turns 21 on Tuesday, capped his final round with a 43-foot birdie putt on the 18th.

He had started the day four shots off the lead, held then by Billy Mayfair, but caught fire midway through his opening nine holes.

After going to the turn in 32, including a hat-trick of birdies from the seventh, McIlroy stormed clear of the field with a brilliant run of birdie-eagle-birdie from the 14th.

The Northern Irishman went for the green on the reachable par-four 14th, his tee shot coming up right of the green in a bunker. From there he splashed out to 10 feet and holed for a birdie, his sixth of the day.

The best was yet to come, however, McIlroy hitting a stunning approach from 207 yards to within four feet of the flag on the par-five 15th to set up a simple eagle.

And the former Walker Cup star followed that with a mid-iron from a fairway bunker on the 16th to four feet for yet another birdie. He made par on the 17th and then capped a stunning day's work with the long putt on the 18th for a birdie

McIlroy had missed the cut in his last two events in the United States, including the Masters at Augusta following rounds of 74 and 77.

And he was not in a strong position on Friday night at one over par before a stunning turnaround, completing the weekend at 16 under par.

"I suppose I just got in the zone," McIlroy said.

"I didn't realise I was going eight, nine, 10 under par. I just knew I'd got my nose in front, I was just trying to stay there.

"Ever since I was 10 or 11, I wanted to be a professional golfer and you know it's been a crazy ride to this point. I'm just delighted to get here and get my first win of the year, and to do it on a golf course like this is an amazing feeling."

McIlroy now moves on to the Players Championship in Florida and added: "I'm going to have a bit of a party on Tuesday night down in Sawgrass. If I was back home and had a win like this I'd be having a good one tonight."

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