Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open

Perhaps it wasn't the walk in the park that many predicted but Rory McIlroy is the British Open champion.

He shot 71 Sunday to win win by two strokes over Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia.

It was McIlroy's third career major. He has also won a PGA and a U.S. Open.

The only drama on the 18th hole was when McIlroy hit his approach shot on the par 5 into the bunker. However, he blasted out and putted his way to victory.

McIlroy didn't have to set any records to win the British Open he just had to make it difficult for any of the field to catch him and his six-stroke lead that started the round.

It had mixed results early but then in McIlroy fashion showed some middle-round and late steam to protect himself against a red-hot Sergio Garcia and a steady Rickie Fowler.

McIlroy birdied No. 9 just as Garcia had closed the gap to two shots and then after Garcia eagled No. 10, McIlroy came right behind him and birded the hole.

Rory McIlroy didn't have to set any records to win the British Open. He just had to make it difficult for the field on the front nine.

He got mixed results. And then in McIlroy fashion showed some steam.

He had an early birdie but a series of bogeys and a red-hot Sergio Garcia tightened the lead to three shots.

Then, when he most needed it, he drained a 12-footer on No. 9 for a birdie to give himself some cushion.

McIlroy shot 35 on the front and made the turn with an four lead over Garcia and five over Fowler and Robert Karlsson.

McIlroy got off to a good start. Taking out driver on No. 1 he blasted a drive over 300 yards, hit his approach to within 12 feet and then drained the birdie putt. Fowler parred the hole and was back 7 strokes immediately.

Fowler grabbed the stroke back on No. 2 when he hit a spectacular approach and tapped in for birdie while McIlroy had an easy par. The two both parred No. 3 and No. 4.

The fifth hole, a par 5, was rated among the easiest holes to birdie and an opportunity for both players to get some traction.

However, McIlroy air-mailed his approach up against the grandstand and eventually bogeyed the hole and then bogeyed No. 6, a par 3, bringing Fowler and Garcia back into the tournament.

After Saturday's round McIlroy said he'd come into Sunday with confidence.

"I'm comfortable leading the tournament," said McIlroy, who has relied on a couple unknown trigger words all week to get his mind ready for each shot. "This is the third night in a row that I'll sleep on the lead. It helps that I've been in this position before and I've been able to convert and I've been able to get the job done. I'm comfortable with how I'm hitting it. Really comfortable on the greens. I just need to go out there tomorrow and play one more solid round and hopefully that's enough."


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