NORTON, Mass. — It takes 72 holes to win a PGA Tour golf tournament, and that’s a good thing for Rory McIlroy.
McIlroy couldn’t have started Friday’s first round at the Deutsche Bank Championship much worse, as a bogey and triple bogey moved him to 4-over. But the last 69 holes at TPC Boston were a completely different story.
The 2012 Deutsche Bank Championship winner claimed his second career victory at TPC Boston thanks to going 19-under for the rest of his time in Norton, Mass., including an impressive 6-under-par 65 in extremely windy conditions during Monday’s final round to finish at 15-under.
He said after the third round that he had a chance to do something he’s never done before by coming back from his rough start, and that’s exactly what he did.
“I think if you had said to me after three holes on Friday that I would be sitting up here addressing you guys as the winner of this tournament, I would have told you to go somewhere, I think,” McIlroy said Monday. “I mean, it’s just incredible, this game, how quickly things can change and how quickly things can turn around. It’s been a great lesson for me this week not to get down on myself, to stay patient.
“As I said, after three holes on Friday, there was so much going through my head, and none of those things involved sitting beside a trophy at the end of the week, so it’s just been incredible. I played some great golf after that. I mean, 19-under-par for my last 69 holes, and on this golf course in these conditions, very proud of myself for that.”
It’s even more baffling that McIlroy was the one holding the trophy considering he entered Monday six shots back of third-round leader Paul Casey. But he came in believing he had a chance.
“Last night (I knew I had a good chance to win this), last night, whenever I made that three — finished the round off on a really positive note yesterday,” he said. “… If I could go out and play the front nine like I did yesterday, I actually ended up playing it one shot better today, I knew I had a real chance. So I was always positive going into today. I thought it was a long shot, obviously I didn’t expect to win, but I thought I could really give it a good go.”
However, with the remnants of Hurricane Hermine wreaking havoc on the course, low rounds were tough to come by for many of the top golfers.
Not for McIlroy, though. He had five birdies on the front nine to make the turn at 31, and he played the back nine 1-under. His round could have been even better, but he missed a few short putts and made a bogey on the par-4 17th.
But that mishap didn’t rattle him.
“I said to (caddie) J.P. (Fitzgerald) walking off that green, I said, ‘OK, let’s make 4 at the last and get this thing done.’ It was nice to make that one back after the bogey,” McIlroy said.
He ran into some more trouble on the final hole when he hit his approach shot into the green side bunker. But he went up and down to clinch his 12th PGA Tour win and first since the 2015 Wells Fargo Championship. The victory also catapulted him up to fourth in the FedEx Cup standings heading into the BMW Championship.
Not bad for someone who seemingly played himself out of the running after just three holes.
Thumbnail photo via Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports Images