Rory McIlroy took his 20th career PGA Tour title on Sunday, shooting a six-under-par 66 for the CJ trophy in one fell swoop over Collin Morikawa.
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Disappointed with a poor performance at the Ryder Cup last month and his struggles after trying to keep up with Bryson DeChambeau’s endurance racing, the 32-year-old Northern Ireland showed the form that made him a four-time major champion.
“In the last few months I’ve been trying to be someone else” said McIlroy.
“I realize that being me is enough, and that is enough to do things like that.”
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McIlroy rolled a nearly 35 foot eagle putt on par-5 14th and parried the final four holes to finish on 25-under par 263 at the Summit Club in Las Vegas.
McIlroy said the trick of his Ryder Cup flop in Europe’s record 19-9 defeat inspired his improved game.
“It was great. It was really,” said Rory McIlroy.
“I was disappointed with how I played. I think about it more emotionally than about it (winning). “
After his best lap in two years with a 62 on Saturday, McIlroy followed on a near-perfect run to claim his 29th global win and become only the 39th player to win PGA.
“That is a remarkable achievement” said McIlroy.
“It’ll take me a few more years on tour to get this lifetime release, but at least I’ve got 20 wins. It’s a great success. “
Since World War II, only Vijay Singh and Gary Player have more PGA wins than McIlroy among non-US players.
The two-time major winner Morikawa, who crossed the finish line with an eagle, finished second with 264 after a 62nd finals, while the Americans Rickie Fowler and Keith Mitchell finished third with 266.
The event has been rescheduled from South Korea for the second year in a row due to travel problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Rory McIlroy, who ranks 14th, won his second title of the year after suffering an 18-month drought in May with his third career triumph at Quail Hollow and the first of the 2021/22 season.
“I was close to opening my season with a win” he said.
“It’s great. It feels really good, a confirmation of what I’ve been doing over the past few weeks. Just keep going.”
Morikawa was happy with his week, although he was happy with second place.
“That was a great start to the season” he said.
Fowler led by three early on Sunday, but couldn’t keep up with McIlroy’s pace and shot 71. World number 128 Fowler has not won since his fifth PGA title at the 2019 Phoenix Open.
“Obviously disappointed” said Fowler.
“But this is a big step in the right direction from what I’ve been doing over the past few years.”
Fowler rolled in a 16-foot birdie putt on par-4 ninth to share the lead with McIlroy and Morikawa at 22-under, but stumbled back on a three-putt bogey on the 10th.
McIlroy drove the green at par-4 12th and rolled in a four foot birdie putt to take the lead alone.
McIlroy found the rough at par-5 14th and came close to the green, but rolled the ball into the cup from just under 35 feet for Eagle to reach 25-under and lead by three.
Morikawa pocketed a seven-foot par-5 eagle putt to pull within one, but McIlroy closed four pars to seal the win.
Fowler tee off with a two-stroke lead over McIlroy and dropped his approach just inches from the cup to place a birdie at the opening hole to lead by three.
But McIlroy pocketed an 11-foot birdie putt on the second par-3 and had a tap-in birdie on the third par-5.
Fowler made the fourth birdie but took a double bogey on the sixth par-5 while McIlroy made a birdie from just outside four feet to share the lead.
McIlroy made the eighth birdie, reaching 22-under to catch up with Morikawa’s birdie at par-3 11 and share the lead.
Leading final results on Sunday at the PGA Tour CJ Cup in Las Vegas, Nevada (USA, unless otherwise stated, par-72):
263 – Rory McIlroy (NIR) 68-67-62-66
264 – Collin Morikawa 67-70-65-62
266 – Keith Mitchell 62-64-73-67, Rickie Fowler 66-66-63-71
267 – Talor Gooch 67-68-70-62, Sam Burns 67-68-66-66, Aaron Wise 66-67-68-66, Adam Scott (AUS) 68-63-67-69
268 – Im Sung-jae (KOR) 68-69-67-64, Gary Woodland 68-69-66-65, Harry Higgs 64-67-70-67, Cameron Smith (AUS) 66-67-67-68, Robert Streb 61-72-65-70
269 - Webb Simpson 69-69-66-65, Jhonattan Vegas (VEN) 66-69-68-66, Chris Kirk 68-67-68-66, Abraham Ancer (MEX) 70-65-63- 71
270 – Emiliano Grillo (ARG) 72-68-69-61, Xander Schauffele 69-69-69-63, Justin Thomas 69-67-70-64, Jordan Spieth 66-65-72-67, Viktor Hovland (NOR) 65-68-70-67, Ian Poulter (ENG) 66-67-67-70, Tyrrell Hatton (ENG) 67-65-67-71
271 – Sergio Garcia (ESP) 65-70-69-67, Lee Kyoung-hoon (KOR) 67-72-66-66, Paul Casey (ENG) 68-65-70-68, Mackenzie Hughes (CAN) 71- 62-70-68, Carlos Ortiz (MEX) 71-65-67-68, Russell Henley 68-69-65-69, Erik van Rooyen (RSA) 67-66-68-70
WD – Harris English 73-68-68