Rory McIlroy wins at Wells Fargo to end two-year drought

May 9, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Rory McIlroy watches his tee shot on 2 during the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Rory McIlroy shot three-under-par 68 to win his first PGA tournament in nearly two years Sunday, finishing 10-under in capturing the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte, N.C.

McIlroy overtook 54-hold leader Keith Mitchell, who finished tied for third with Viktor Hovland at 8-under par. Abraham Ancer finished in second place after a 5-under 66 left him one stroke behind McIlroy. Gary Woodland, the 2019 U.S. Open champion, rounded out the top-five at 7 under.

The victory is the first for the Northern Irishman since 2019, marking the second-longest drought of his career. It is his 19th career tournament win and third at the Wells Fargo, which was the site of his first victory back in 2010.

McIlroy entered the day in second place, but birdied No. 3 and 7 on his way out, and came back in with birdies on 14 and 15 to gain the upper hand. He was in comfortable position by the 18th when he carded his only bogey of the day.

“It’s never easy. It’s never easy to win out here,” he said. “It’s felt like a long time since that victory in China back in 2019. The world is a completely different place than it is today — everyone getting through a pandemic … life’s changed a lot for me being a dad, winning on Mother’s Day, thinking of Erica (his wife, Erica Stoll), thinking of my mom back home. It just feels awesome.”

In 10 career starts at the Wells Fargo, the 32-year-old McIlroy has three wins, a share of second, and eight top-10 finishes.

“This is one of my favorite places in the world and to break the drought and to win here again, that’s awesome,” he said.

McIlroy’s last victory was in November, 2019, at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

He earned $1.458 million for Sunday’s victory in the $8.1-million tournament, which was played in front of significant numbers of spectators, as 30 percent capacity was allowed in Charlotte.

“It’s just awesome to play in front of these people again,” McIlroy said. “You know when we came back from the pandemic, I thought I’d enjoy the peace and quiet a little bit, but I soon realized that to bring the best out of myself I needed this.

“I feel off the energy so much — maybe here more so than anywhere else just because it’s the first place I’ve won three times, so the crowd has just been awesome all week and they really carried me through today.”

Mitchell had extended his overnight lead to three shots with a birdie on the first hole, but then bogeyed No. 5 and 6, opening the door for McIlroy and Gary Woodland, who strode to the lead. Woodland eventually fell back on the 12th and 13th, while McIlroy didn’t falter until the tournament was in hand.

–Field Level Media