McIlroy throws down gauntlet declaring he’s gunning for #1

Bernie McGuire

Rory McIlroy (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy has boldly thrown down the gauntlet at the feet of Brooks Koepka declaring that the American will now have a real fight on his hands to remain World No. 1

McIlroy exacted sweet revenge on the ‘not-so-liked’ Koepka in brushing aside his fellow four-time Major winner to win a second Tour Championship title in four years by four shots thanks to six birdies, including at his closing two holes, in a closing round 66 for an emphatic 18-under par tally on the famed East Lake course.

Xander Schauffele (70) was a distant second  on 14-under par, with Justin Thomas (68) and Koepka posting a two-over par 72 sharing third place at 13-under.

Victory, as McIlroy insisted, was sweet revenge over Koepka after the duo went head-to-head a month ago in the final round of the WGC- FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis where Koepka signed for a final round 65 and in the process sent McIlroy back to a share of fourth after his 71.

The duo were drawn together a fortnight later for the Northern Trust with McIlroy posting a 65 to Koepka’s 70 but that was not near as sweet-tasting as rubbing Koepka’s nose into the East Lake turf, in front of 28 others of the top-30 on the PGA 2018/19 money list.

Koepka had spoken recently of his desire to extend his lead on the official World Rankings but with this win in suburban Atlanta McIlroy overtakes Dustin Johnson to return to World No. 2 for a first occasion since May 2017.

Koepka had been some four full World Ranking points ahead of McIlroy in third place but McIlroy has now cut that to around three points ahead of travelling to Switzerland for this week’s Omega European Masters.

“I am looking forward to chasing down Brooks and given what he says, he is going to have to get through me first if he wants to do that,” said McIlroy.

“I feel the way I am playing and where everything is right now in my game, I can continue to go forward.

“I have also proved to myself now that I can play in the final group with him and beat him, and that gives me a lot of confidence going forward also.”

Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy & Terms of Service apply.