Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McIlroy Close to Winning US Open Title Super Ulsterman Goes Nine Shots Clear

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McIlroy Close to Winning US Open Title Super Ulsterman Goes Nine Shots Clear

Article excerpt

ASEEMINGLY unstoppable Rory McIlroy extended his lead to nine shots as the US Open remained a one-man show at Congressional today.

Although Lee Westwood picked up where he left off yesterday with an opening birdie McIlroy matched it and then had another on the fourth to reach an incredible 16 under par.

Then Westwood's fast-disappearing hopes of ending his major duck seemed to be over when he hit his second into the water on the long sixth and took a bogey six.

McIlroy set out in the final round by hitting his approach to nine feet, then saved par from nine feet on the next.

Another towering iron two holes later gave him yet another birdie and, in a clear sign that there was to be no Augusta-like collapse, he salvaged par on the fifth from 14 feet after driving into sand.

It all kept him firmly on course to become the youngest winner of the title since Bobby Jones in 1923, the second successive Northern Irish champion and Europe's second youngest major champion after Young Tom Morris nearly 140 years ago.

Morris, won his first Open aged 17 in 1868 and his fourth at 21 in 1872. Things were a little different then - the first prize was just pounds 8. Two months after his closing 80 from four ahead at The Masters, McIlroy had set 36 and 54-hole scoring records already and needed only a one-over-par 72 to establish a new tournament mark. The record under-par mark for the tournament was the 12 under of Tiger Woods at Pebble Beach in 2000.

Westwood's slip-up at the sixth relegated him to joint fifth. He knew he had little chance of catching McIlroy, but he needed second place - it would be his third in his last five majors - to regain the world number one spot off Luke Donald, who had finished with his third double bogey on the 18th for a 69 for a five-over total.

Joint second were Swede Fredrik Jacobson, Australian Jason Day and Korean YE Yang, but they required help from McIlroy to have even a sniff of glory - and nearly got it when he caught his pitch to the sixth heavy and it only just made it over the lake.

The ball actually bounced off the brick wall on the water's edge, but went forward onto the green and he two-putted for a par five. …

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