Rory McIlroy blasts past Xander Schauffele to win Wells Fargo Championship

Rory McIlroy blasts past Xander Schauffele to win Wells Fargo Championship

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Rory McIlroy heads into the PGA off back-to-back wins for the first time since his last major title. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy waited for his moment Sunday at Quail Hollow. And when the moment came, he didn’t stop.

McIlroy went on a tear through the middle of the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship, making two eagles to play an eight-hole stretch in eight under and turn a one-shot deficit to Xander Schauffele to start the day into a five-shot win. According to stats guru Justin Ray, it’s McIlroy’s 14th come-from-behind win, six more than any other player since 2010.

The World No. 2 finished at 17 under after a final-round 65 for his fourth career victory at Quail Hollow. It’s also McIlroy’s 26th PGA Tour victory and officially his second in a row after he won the Zurich Classic team event with Shane Lowry two weeks ago.

“Quail Hollow, Charlotte in general has been really good to me over my career and this is just another great day to sort of add to all the rest of them,” McIlroy said. “I feel like these people have sort of watched me grow up from winning here as a 20-year-old to being the ripe old age of 35 now. They’ve sort of seen my progression throughout my career, and I’ve been lucky enough to win here four times. The support that I get here is absolutely amazing.”

The last time McIlroy won his last two starts heading into a major was before his most recent major title at the 2014 PGA Championship, played at Valhalla, this year’s host site.

McIlroy birdied the first hole Sunday to quickly pull even with Schauffele, who had led alone for most of the tournament after opening with 64. But after Schuaffele converted a mid-length eagle putt on the 7th and McIlroy three-putted for par, the 34-year-old Northern Irishman found himself two back.

That’s when he turned on the jets, birdieing the 8th and 9th to pull even at the turn. When he drilled a 34-putt for eagle on the 10th, McIlroy had the lead to himself.

“That was a big moment on 7,” McIlroy said. “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. 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 never looked back as he added birdies at 13 and 14 before he holed a bunker shot on 15 for a second eagle, both coming on the back nine par-5s, for the exclamation point.

By the 18th, McIlroy was up by seven, meaning that when his second shot bounced past the pin and into the water beyond the green, it was inconsequential. McIlroy’s closing double bogey took nothing away from the ovation he received after holing the final putt on the same green where he completed his first PGA Tour win.

Schauffele couldn’t keep pace, making three back-nine bogeys, but his even-par 71 was good enough to finish three clear of Ben An, who shot 66 Sunday to take solo third. Sunday marked yet another close call for Schauffele, the World No. 4, who hasn’t won since the 2022 Scottish Open. While he moves to second in the FedEx Cup standings, he also blew the 54-hole lead at the Players Championship and now moves to two-for-eight when holding the 54-hole lead in his PGA Tour career.

“He played unbelievable,” Schauffele said of McIlroy. “[I] looked up at the board and I’m like, dang, he’s six under through 6 on the back nine, it’s something else. With that being said, 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.”

For McIlroy, his win capped another tumultuous week relating to the ongoing negotiations between the PGA Tour and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund. He revealed this week that he wouldn’t be rejoining the PGA Tour Policy Board after previously announcing his return following a resignation in the fall.

Instead, it was reported McIlroy will serve on the Transaction Subcommittee that will negotiate with PIF.

McIlroy also denied a reported rift between himself and Tiger Woods.

But McIlroy’s attention will now turn to Valhalla, where he seeks to win his first major title in 10 years, having finished in the top 10 in seven of his last nine majors. McIlroy, World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and defending PGA champion Brooks Koepka have now all won in their final start in advance of the year’s second major.

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