Rory McIlroy absolutely eviscerated the competition at Kiawah Island, winning the PGA Championship by a record margin fo eight strokes -- the same margin of victory he had in the 2011 US Open -- after a nearly flawless final two rounds of golf to close out the tournament.
McIlroy started his third round at 2-under, and despite a strong front nine featuring five birdies, found himself having bogeyed the ninth and 13th holes. It was a minor funk that had him jostling for the lead at 5-under with Vijay Singh, Carl Pettersson, and others near the start of the day on Sunday (after rain pushed most of his third round back a day). But that's when McIlroy turned on the jets: McIlroy wouldn't score over par on any of the next 23 holes, blasting past competition that struggled amongst blustery winds at the Ocean Course. Nobody was really close at any point during the final round: ian Poulter cut McIlroy's lead to two at one point, but had bogeys on four of the last six holes to fall back to sixth.
McIlroy resumes his status as the World No. 1 and, at only 23, the real question for McIlroy after his second major is what the future holds for the Northern Irish golfer.
After 36 holes, the question was Tiger Woods could continue his strong play and hold on to the lead. Anybody who has paid attention to golf recently could probably foretell that the answer would be no: Woods played his seventh and eighth weekend rounds at majors this season, and for the seventh and eighth time, he failed to score below par on either one. He fell from a tie for the lead at 4-under to a tie for 11th at 2-under, meaning his streak of not winning majors will continue through to 2013.
As for the spots directly under McIlroy, there were some strong movers on the fourth day of the tournament. Besides Pettersson, who started the third round tied for the lead, each golfer who ended up near the top of the leaderboard made up serious ground on the final 18 holes. David Lynn shot 4-under to be the runner up. Justin Rose, Keegan Bradley, and Poulter started at 2-over, even, and 1-under at the beginning of the fourth round, respectively, and each ended the day at 4-under, good for a tie for third with Pettersen.
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