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The Early Lead
Posted at 07:02 PM ET, 06/19/2011

2011 U.S. Open: Rory McIlroy wins with history-making performance

Leader board; tee times, hole-by-hole; leaders’ scorecards; complete coverage; Round 4 gallery; Round 1 live blog; Round 2 live blog; Round 3 live blog

We’re live blogging the final round of the U.S. Open, so hit refresh to keep up with what’s happening and weigh in with your comments.


No Augusta yips for Rory McIlroy, who won his first major. (Jonathan Newton / WASHINGTON POST)

7:27 p.m.: It’s a wrap. Rory McIlroy wins the U.S. Open, setting a fistful of Open scoring records with his 16-under par performance Sunday at Congressional Country Club.

But maybe the best part of it? The hug with his dad, Gerry, on Father’s Day, on the green at 18. And Graeme McDowell, another Northern Ireland player who was last year’s U.S. Open champion, was waiting for him, too.

While the kid was finishing off his putt, Gerry McIlroy said to McDowell: “How about that? Back-to-back for us.”

And winning on Father’s Day?.

“It means the world,” McIlroy said to Bob Costas. “Happy Father’s Day, Dad, wherever you are. This one’s for you. ...

“I have to mention my dad, but I also have to mention my mum, who’s back home watching. Everything they’ve done for me ... i can’t thank them enough.”

McIlroy set or tied 12 Open records — and Tiger Woods, who won his first U.S. Open when he was 25, was on McIlroy’s mind.

“I know how good Tiger was in 2000 to win by 15 at Pebble [Beach],” McIlroy, 22, said. “I was trying to go at that today and emulate him in some way. I played great for four days and I couldn’t be happier.”

McIlroy has not been in contention in the last four majors and, as if anyone needs to be reminded, lost the Masters on the last day of the tournament.

“Augusta was a very valuable experience for me. I knew what I needed to do today to win,” McIlroy said. “At Augusta I learned a few things about myself and my game and I put a few different things into practice and it paid off.”

7:17 p.m.:

Thinking about moving to Northern Ireland!!less than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

Jason Day finished second, eight strokes back of McIlroy. His playing partner for the final round, Y.E. Yang, finished in a four-way tie for third.

7:12 p.m.: Robert Garrigus moves into a tie for fourth...making him the second American (with Kevin Chappell) in the top five. He, Chappell and Lee Westwood are tied for fourth.

7:05 p.m.: With his first three-putt, Rory McIlroy has a bogey (another one!) on 17, dropping to 16-under. He leads Jason Day by eight, Y.E. Yang by seven. Maybe Tiger’s statement jinxed him.

7:01 p.m.: Because you want to know what Tiger Woods thinks about Rory McIlroy’s U.S. Open...

“Heck of a performance,” Woods said, in a statement read by NBC’s Dan Hicks. “Looks pretty comfortable that Rory will raise the U.S. Open trophy. Congrats and well done. Enjoy it. This was an impressive performance.”

6:47 p.m.: Rory McIlroy returns to 17-under as NBC reads a congratulatory note from Tiger Woods about McIlroy’s accomplishment.

6:33 p.m.: Y.E. Yang’s bogey at 15 puts Rory McIlroy’s lead back at nine (with McIlroy’s par on the hole) and drops Yang into third place.

6:22 p.m.: What’s next if Rory McIlroy hangs on (that’s a joke) to win? Lots of interviews on American TV, right? CNBC’s Darren Rovell reports that he “has declined New York media opportunities” because he has a sponsor commitment in England on Tuesday.

Boo.

6:19 p.m.: If the cup on 14 were about a half-inch wider, Rory McIlroy would have had a birdie. Alas.

Kevin Chappell is tied for fourth with one hole left to play, which is significant because there has never been a U.S. Open in which an American player has failed to finish among the top five.

6:18 p.m.: We have proof positive that everything that can be said has: Dan Hicks just pointed out to Jack Nicklaus that Rory McIlroy is ahead of Nicklaus’ pace because he’ll be one month younger than Nicklaus when he won his first major.

6:07 p.m.: Rory McIlroy chillaxes with a par on 13, then hits the tee shot on 14 straight down the fairway. He'd bogeyed the hole on Thursday.

5:57 p.m.: Breaking news: Rory McIlroy has gotten a bogey...

Y.E. Yang gets his par at 12, so, despite his gaffe, McIlroy is 6-under and leads Yang by eight.

5:45 p.m.: Could Rory McIlroy be on the verge of getting the first bogey of this round?

He’s gone from sand to rough on No. 12, so perhaps...

Meanwhile, so much for the Hanson-Day intrigue. Yang is alone in second, Day alone in third.

5:50 p.m.: Peter Hanson and Jason Day are only one stroke back of Y.E. Yang after Yang’s bogey at 11.

Will they move up from third to second and, perhaps, pass Yang? This passes for suspense at this U.S. Open.

5:47 p.m.: Golf injury! Henrik Stenson breaks a club in frustration and, in the process, cuts his right index finger. His caddie, Fanny Sunneson, bandaged the boo-boo.

5:43 p.m.: Charl Schwartzel, the Masters champion who finished with a 66 — 280 today, on whether we’re seeing a changing of the guard now in golf with Rory McIlroy’s performance: “I think we are.”

5:40 p.m.: Another hole, another mistake-free par for Rory McIlroy, whose long putt for birdie missed by mere inches. Peter Hanson moves into a tie for third with Jason Day.

5:33 p.m.: Sergio Garcia reminds everyone that he’s still playing today by moving to 5-under with a birdie at 12 ... as Y.E. Yang puts his shot at 11 into the water, Garcia may be making a little leader-board move. He’s only 12 back.

5:20 p.m.: 17-under.

That is all.

Y.E. Yang hits a brilliant shot on 10 and Rory McIlroy hits to within 12 feet of the flag and the ball rolls to within inches. So there, Y.E.

Jason Day is now alone in third, 10 strokes back of McIlroy, two back of Yang.

It’s as if this course is catnip to McIlroy.

5:07 p.m.: Y.E. Yang picks up a stroke with a birdie at nine, cutting (using the word loosely) Rory McIlroy’s lead to eight at the turn. With a 31 over the first nine, McIlroy’s lead grows ever more secure.

5:05 p.m.: Lee Westwood and Jason Day are tied for fourth, FYI.

5:52 p.m.: Rory McIlroy keeps trucking with pars at 7 and 8 ... Y.E. Yang and Fredrik Jacobson, who birdied No. 8, are tied for second.

4:45 p.m.: NBC has apologized for cutting the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance in its broadcast preceding live coverage of the U.S. Open.

4:35 p.m.: Y.E. Yang cuts Rory McIlroy’s lead to nine shots with a birdie at No. 6. This passes for drama at the U.S. Open.

4:31 p.m.: Rory McIlroy gets a break as his shot at No. 6 avoids the water. A gift from the golfing gods after what happened at he Masters?

A bit of a change among Those Who Also Played Golf Today at the U.S. Open: Jason Day is tied with Fredrik Jacobson and Y.E. Yang in second; Lee Westwood drops back with a bogey at No. 6.

4:26 p.m.: Stats timeout from Barry Svrluga: To break the U.S. Open scoring record of 272, McIlroy needs a round of 1-over 73. He has made 1 bogey and 1 double in 59 holes.

4:17 p.m.: Of course, a bogey isn’t going to be coming at 5. I feel so silly for having typed that. Rory McIlroy sinks a par putt. In the bogey department, so far he’s only had the double bogey at 18 and the bogey at 10. Which is, you know, unreal.

With a birdie at 6, Fredrik Jacobson is tied with Lee Westwood and Y.E. Yang for second. They must feel like the guys who were given the assignment of painting other areas at the Sistine Chapel.

4:15 p.m.: Y.E. Yang misses a birdie putt at 5 by mere inches. 4:09 p.m.: Rory McIlroy finds a bunker at 5 and, after fighting off a swarm of bugs, gets out, leaving himself with a looooong putt for birdie. He promptly leaves that significantly short...could a bogey be coming here?

3:59 p.m.: With a birdie on No. 4, Rory McIlroy moves further into uncharted territory at 16-under, with a 10-shot lead.

Am officially seeking synonyms for “ridiculous.”

Y.E. Yang pars No. 4, which is nice.

3:51 p.m.: Phil Mickelson was asked whether the setup of the Congressional course was helping Rory McIlroy.

“Well, I think his chances are great now not because of the course setup or anything, just because of how he's playing. He's playing some terrific golf. He's hitting the ball well and rolling it well, so he's going to make some birdies today. There are birdie holes out there, and he's going to end up making some, so it'll make it even more difficult for guys to catch him.”

So far, no one is making a major move to do so. Steve Stricker is at 5-under through 10, though, and that bears watching. Par for McIlroy at par-4 No. 3 and his tee shot at par-4 No. 4 lands on the fairway.

Scores are low because of the rain folks. Stop complaining! Only one guy is making a mockery of this set up..Go Rory!less than a minute ago via Twitterrific Favorite Retweet Reply

3:43 p.m.: Wondering whether Rory McIlroy can continue to boldly go where no one has gone in the U.S. Open and reach 16-under.

Random note from CNBC’s Darren Rovell: The year Rory was born (1989), a US Open win was worth an inflation adjusted $364,458. Today, it is worth 245% more ($1.26M).

3:39 p.m.: Side note: Just what went wrong for Phil Mickelson this week? “I’m not sure yet I have a great answer for you right now,” he said.

After finishing with a 7-over 291, he was asked if he’s rethinking his statement that he can win more majors.

“Not really. It just gets me more geared up to look forward to the British [Open next month]. We have some big tournaments, the British and the PGA, coming up as well as the FedExCup, so I'll have the next two weeks to try and get my game ready and head over to Europe.”

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, it’s par for that McIlroy guy at No. 2.

3:34 p.m.: Rory McIlroy now the only man to get to 13, 14, 15 under in the U.S. Open or, as Trey Wingo puts it, “glory for Rory.”

3:30 p.m.: An Officially Ridiculous beginning: Rory McIlroy birdies the first hole to go to 15-under and lead by nine.

Sheesh.

17 holes to go.

3:23 p.m.: With a birdie on the first hole, Lee Westwood moves into a tie for second with Y.E. Yang as this tightens ever so slightly. And, by slightly, I mean microscopically.

3:21 p.m.: Y.E. Yang sends his tee shot into Divot City along the side of the fairway. No problemo, though. Rory McIlroy’s tee shot lands in a minor divot indentation. (Has the OSS been using the course at night?)

3:16 p.m.: Ian Poulter makes a prediction:

I think Rory will press on today and win by 10 at least I hope so. He is the player everyone was talking about a few years ago. Brilliantless than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

3:10 p.m.: Lee Westwood and Jason step to the tee at No. 1; Westwood uneventfully finds the middle of the fairway and Day goes straight into a bunker.

3:07 p.m.: 13 minutes ’til Rory McIlroy tees off. Line up your refreshments, visit the rest room.

3:04 p.m.: Zach Johnson just scudded his shot on 6 across the green, past the cup and straight into the H2O.

2:42 p.m.: The pace of play is right where it should be, Gene Wang reports. The 18th group made the turn at almost two hours on the dot.

2:28 p.m.: Rory McIlroy arrives at the practice green and heads to the chipping area, to (duh) huge applause. For the fashion-obsessed, he’s wearing a blue shirt and has traded his omnipresent gray pants in for white ones. (CBS’s Mike Freeman says that McIlroy is “walking like a straight up mack daddy” and darned if he isn’t right.)

2:23 p.m.: Phil the Thrill Mickelson finished a wretched week with another double bogey on 18, going from bunker to water as he finished with a par 71 today. Mickelson finished with a 7-over 291 and, for only the fourth time in the last 14 years, finished outside the top 20 in the U.S. Open.

2:19 p.m.: There’s still a bit of time before the closest competitors to Rory McIlroy tee off. Y.E. Yang, who is in second place eight shots back, tees off with McIlroy at 3:20, of course.

Lee Westwood and Jason Day, who are in third place another shot back of Yang, tee off at 3:10. Robert Garrigus, also tied for third, goes at 3 p.m. with Frederik Jacobson, who is tied for sixth at 4-under.

Sergio Garcia, tied for sixth, tees off at 2:50 with Matt Kuchar, also tied for sixth.

1:51 p.m.: There isn’t much mystery surrounding the final round of the U.S. Open today at Congressional. What there is concerns 1) the dandy little tournament among the players competing to 2) finish second to Rory McIlroy or to, perhaps, become this year’s Paul Lawrie to Rory McIlroy’s Jean Van de Velde — an outcome that seems impossible, given that McIlroy leads by eight shots and is 14-under par.

This McIlroy, who turned 22 in May, is different from that McIlroy. He’s wiser and more mature and seemingly ready to start making golf history.

That won’t keep us from flashing back to the Masters for a moment. It was apparent from the way that McIlroy dealt with that disappointment that he was likely to be just fine...all you had to do was study his tweets in the aftermath last April:

Well that wasn't the plan! Found it tough going today, but you have to lose before you can win. This day will make me stronger in the end.less than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

Oh and congratulations charl schwartzel!! Great player and even better guy! Very happy for him and his family!less than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

Thank you to everyone for all your kind words and messages of support. I'm a little overwhelmed! Very much appreciated!less than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

“He was thrown in at the deep end and this is a serious deep end,” Nick Faldo said back in April. “You are there on your own, things get out of sync and you lose your tempo.”

Faldo knows about collapses. He famously beat Greg Norman in the 1996 Masters when Norman lost by five strokes after leading by six. “I knew exactly how he felt; I've experienced it,” Norman said, via the PGA Tour website. “What is it with golf destiny? Isn't it strange? It taps you on the back of your head and it either pushes you ahead or pushes you back. Who determines that? It's crazy.”

McIlroy shared a private flight out of Augusta with Charl Schwartzel, the winner, and joked about that, then turned philosophical:

It's repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. & once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen. -Muhammad Aliless than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

A MASTERS FLASHBACK

Jenkins: McIlroy learns from golf’s greatest teacher — failure

LOLing on the outside: McIlroy’s coping mechanism

MORE on the U.S. OPEN

Boswell: McIlroy still has 18 holes to go

McIlroy out in front

Two beat the odds to make the cut

Golfers take advantage of conditions

Phil Mickelson’s rough week

Lemonade stand gets the squeeze

U.S. Open Central: Follow The Post

U.S. Open Channel: The Post’s videos from Congressional

Photo gallery: Behind the scenes

Fans’ perspective: Your photos from Congressional

By  |  07:02 PM ET, 06/19/2011

 
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