McIlroy birdied the final two holes at St. George’s Golf and Country Club on Sunday as he finished 19 under par ahead of Americans Tony Finau and Justin Thomas.
“It’s a day I will long remember – the 21st PGA Tour victory, one more than anyone else,” McIlroy told CBS. “It gave a bit more extra incentive today and I’m glad I did.”
The comments seemed to allude to the 20 PGA Tour wins of Australian Norman, who is the face of the LIV Golf series.
Later, at the start of his press conference, McIlroy, a staunch PGA Tour supporter since news of the breakaway series emerged, also said he now has one more PGA Tour victory than Norman. .
The final day at St. George’s, near Toronto, was tense. World number 3 McIlroy entered the day tied for the lead with Finau, while Thomas was two strokes behind in a three-way tie for second.
McIlroy had a three-shot lead at one point but missed a number of short putts to tie Thomas at 17 under after 16 holes.
He kept his composure, however, to finish two strokes ahead of Finau and take home $1,566,000 in prize money.
Thomas made consecutive bogeys on holes 17 and 18, allowing Finau to claim second place on his own.
England’s Justin Rose came into contention briefly on Sunday as he shot a remarkable 10 under par 60 to finish tied for fourth.
McIlroy becomes the first player to win a non-major PGA Tour event back-to-back on two different courses since Jim Furyk did so at the Canadian Open in 2006 and 2007.
It also puts him among the favorites to win the US Open in Brookline, Massachusetts, when the tournament begins on Thursday.
“Overall, I thought it was a great week to prepare for the US Open,” McIlroy told reporters. “There’s no better way to prepare for a golf tournament than to be in contention, having to hit the shots when you need to. I proved this week that I can do it. ”
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