Rory McIlroy sprints past Xander Schauffele, runs away with 2024 Wells Fargo Championship win

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —The stars showed up at the PGA Tour’s sixth big-money, no-cut signature event of the season, where two top-five players in the world separated from the pack to set up a slugfest on Sunday.

In the end it was Rory McIlroy who donned the crown and took the throne as the King of the Queen City. The 35-year-old Northern Irishman entered the final round one shot back of Xander Schauffele but flipped the script around the turn to win the 2024 Wells Fargo Championship by a whopping five shots at 17 under after a 6-under 65 at Quail Hollow Club, where he’s now a four-time winner dating back to his maiden victory on Tour in 2010.

“I must say, I do go on Zillow quite a lot and look at some of the properties around here,” McIlroy joked. “I love coming back here, I love spending time here. It’s a place that I’m very comfortable at with Quail Hollow, the city of Charlotte in general and the people. For whatever reason, I get so much great support here.”

“I said it on the 18th green after I won there that all these people have sort of watched me grow up. I won here for the first time as a 20-year-old and now at 35, so they’ve sort of seen my progression throughout the years,” he continued. “I’ve sort of grown up in front of their eyes and I think that’s one of the reasons I get a lot of support here, too.”

McIlroy won his last start at the 2024 Zurich Classic of New Orleans with his partner and good friend Shane Lowry and now has 26 PGA Tour wins to his name. The four-time major champion hasn’t missed a cut this season on Tour in nine starts and has eight finishes inside the top 25, including a trio of top 10s.

“I don’t know what’s more unbelievable, winning a PGA Tour event for the fourth time or getting my (26th win),” said McIlroy. “Whenever I sort of hit some of these milestones or do these things, I always think back to, for example, like 20-year-old me playing in this tournament for the first time. If I had known back then that this is the way everything was going to pan out, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.”

Schauffele, who finished solo second at 12 under after an even-par 71, hasn’t missed a cut in 12 PGA Tour starts this season and has now bagged 11 top-25 finishes, with eight inside the top 10, including a T-2 at the Players Championship. Ben An (66) continued his solid season with a third-place finish at 9 under, his fifth top-10 finish in 13 starts this year. Jason Day (70) and Sungjae Im (73) finished T-4 at 6 under.

“Mixed bag, for sure,” Schauffele said of his round. “I mean, (Rory) played unbelievable. Looked up at the board and I’m like, ‘Dang, he’s 6 under through 6 on the back nine.’ It’s something else. With that being said, yeah, I mean, overall I felt like I was doing pretty well for most of the day and then had that costly stretch and he capitalized like no other. Big reversal there.”

“I felt like I controlled the ball off the tee pretty well, some of those fairways are pretty daunting. Hit some incredible iron shots that I haven’t been able to do in quite some time, you know, right to left and left to right,” Schauffele explained. “Overall, I just need to clean up my short game, it’s always been a deciding factor whether I win a tournament or not, sort of a trigger stat for me, and it definitely hurt me today.”

McIlroy began the day with a birdie on the first hole to briefly tie Schauffele but fell back with a bad bogey on the par-3 4th hole after his tee shot was a club short and found the bunker.

On No. 6, Schauffele left a birdie putt, albeit a lengthy one, criminally short, which would foreshadow what was to come the rest of the round. From off the green, McIlroy nearly holed his chip and put the pressure on Schauffele to make his knee-knocker for par from eight feet. The putt skated by and the pair were once again tied.

On the par-5 7th, McIlroy missed fairway then barely held the green to leave a lengthy effort for birdie that he didn’t give enough respect nor pace. Schauffele, meanwhile, found the fairway and played the contour of the green to perfection to set up an eagle and bounce back from the bogey and take a two-shot lead after McIlroy three-jacked for par. Then the tide turned.

HOLE-OUT EAGLE FOR RORY!!! He now leads by SIX! pic.twitter.com/UE49lwfwNC — PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 12, 2024

“You know, that was a big moment on 7. I three-putted, Xander made an eagle. Then Xander was inside me on 8, I knew I really needed to hole that putt just to try to stay or keep up with him,” McIlroy said of the situation. “Then he missed his, I birdied mine and then I just went on a run that for whatever reason I’m able to go on at this golf course.”

McIlroy made birdie on Nos. 8 and 9 from just outside 10 feet while Schauffele missed his birdie efforts from 10 and 31 feet, respectively, to make the turn to the back nine tied at 13 under. McIlroy curled in a 33-footer for eagle to one-up Schauffele’s birdie on No. 10 to take his first lead of the tournament and he never looked back. McIlroy extended his lead with a birdie-birdie-eagle run on Nos. 13-15 – after his eagle he threw his ball into the crowd – while Schauffele stumbled with bogeys on Nos. 12, 13 and 16 and a lone back-nine birdie on No. 15.

Standing on the 18th tee box, McIlroy had a seven-shot lead, which came in handy as his approach to the back pin on the par 4 skipped off the edge and found the creek that runs along the entirety of the hole. A double-bogey six put the cherry on top of a five-shot win.

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