TORONTO — Rory McIlroy won the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday and gave the PGA Tour a strong response to the start of the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series, closing with an 8-under-par 62 to win a wild race to the finish with Justin Thomas and Tony Finau.
McIlroy repeated as a tournament champion for the first time on the PGA Tour, even if the 33-year-old from Northern Ireland had to wait a while for it. He won golf's fourth-oldest national open in 2019 at Hamilton Golf & Country Club, only for the next two editions to be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Thomas pushed him on the back nine Sunday at St. George's Golf & Country Club, but the tournament effectively ended on the 17th hole. McIlroy and Thomas were tied and in the rough. McIlroy hit a wedge shot that rolled out to tap-in range, while Thomas missed a 10-foot par putt, a two-shot swing. Thomas closed with a pair of bogeys and still shot a 64.
McIlroy finished at 19-under 261 for a two-stroke victory.
"I feel like it's getting tougher and tougher to win on the PGA Tour," said McIlroy, a four-time major champion and the tour's player of the year in 2012 and 2014. "Just look at the two guys that I played with today. I went out with a lead and had to shoot 8 under par to get the job done. So the depth of talent on this tour is really, really impressive. And going up against guys like J.T. and Tony and coming out on top, that's something to feel really good about."
Finau holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the 18th for a 64 to finish second, with Thomas third at 14 under. England's Justin Rose matched the tournament and course records with a 60 — with three eagles and three bogeys — to tie for fourth with Sam Burns (65) at 14 under.
Canada's Corey Conners (62) was sixth at 12 under, and Baylor School graduate Keith Mitchell (66) shared seventh place at 10 under with fellow former University of Georgia golfer Chris Kirk (66) and Wyndham Clark (69), the leader after each of the first two rounds.
McIlroy has been one of the strongest opponents of the LIV Golf series and spoke out against the money being paid to players including Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson. Greg Norman, who runs the series backed by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, said in a story in the Washington Post that McIlroy had been "brainwashed" by the PGA Tour.
McIlroy was in a celebratory mood Sunday.
"This is a day I'll remember for a long, long time," McIlroy said. "Twenty-one PGA Tour wins, one more than somebody else."
It was a dig at Norman, who had 20 career tour wins.
McIlory repeated the jab later in his main interview session when his victory total and accomplishments were noted in his introduction, saying: "And one more than Norman."
Eagle lands victory
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Brooke Henderson eagled the first playoff hole and beat Lindsey Weaver-Wright to win the ShopRite LPGA Classic for her 11th victory on the tour but first this year.
Henderson avoid bogeys while closing with a 7-under 64 at Seaview Hotel and Golf Club to set up the playoff, duplicating her final round from last year's tournament but improving on the second-place finish. The 24-year-old Canadian rallied from a four-shot deficit entering the final round of this year's 54-hole tourney to finish regulation at 12-under 201.
Weaver-Wright, a 28-year-old American still looking for her first LPGA Tour win, forced the playoff with birdies on four of the last six holes, including a long one at No. 17 and a 10-footer at the par-5 final hole for a 65.
The playoff started at the reachable par-5 No. 18, and both found the fairway. Henderson got within 10 feet of the cup with her second shot, while Weaver-Wright was short of the green. Her third shot landed around the same distance from the hole as Henderson, but she was away. She missed her birdie putt, and Henderson, ranked No. 11 in the world, had no pressure making the eagle to pocket $262,500 as the winner.
"I knew it was going to take a little bit of magic, and I'm just really happy that I'm sitting here next to the trophy," Henderson said.
Jodi Eward Shadoff of England made an eagle on the final hole to finish a shot behind the leaders at 11 under. The 34-year-old has never won on the tour.
Grant makes history
A female player has won an event on the DP World Tour for the first time — and Linn Grant made her history on the European circuit in amazing style and in her own country.
The 22-year-old Swede obliterated a field of both male and female golfers at the Scandinavian Mixed event, winning by nine strokes after an 8-under 64 in the final round at Halmstad Golf Club in Tylosand.
Her overall score for the 72-hole event was 24-under 264 and included no bogeys. She finished 14 strokes clear of the next-best woman, Gabriella Cowley, who tied for 15th.
"I just hope people recognize women's golf more now," Grant said, "that more sponsors go to the LET (Ladies European Tour) than to the men's tour, and hopefully this pumps up the women's game a little bit more."
It is the second staging of a tournament that started with 78 men and 78 women in the field, playing the same course — albeit off different tees — for one prize fund and one trophy. Grant, who turned professional last year, won LET events in March and May this year.
Swedish great Henrik Stenson, who hosted the event with compatriot Annika Sorenstam, closed with a 70 and tied for second with Marc Warren (65). Sorenstam, one of the greatest female golfers ever, embraced Grant beside the 18th green after her victory was sealed.
Grant earned 30,000 euros ($31,500) with her win in Belgium last month. She received more than 10 times that on Sunday.
First for Thailand
MADISON, Wis. — Thongchai Jaidee became the first player from Thailand to win a PGA Tour Champions event, closing with a 4-under 68 for a one-stroke victory in the American Family Insurance Championship.
A week after playing his way into the field with a 10th-place finish in Iowa, the 52-year-old Thongchai won in his 19th start on the 50-and-older tour.
Thongchai rebounded from a bogey on the par-5 16th with a birdie on the par-3 17th and closed with a par. He finished at 14-under 202 in the 54-hole event at University Ridge.
Tom Pernice Jr. was second after a 66. Miguel Angel Jimenez, tied for the second-round lead with Thongchai, had a 70 to tie for third at 12 under with hometown favorite Jerry Kelly (67), Marco Dawson (67) and Kirk Triplett (68).
Kelly, the winner in Iowa in a playoff, was trying to win the event — hosted by Madison friend Steve Stricker — for the third straight time.
Curtis Cup: USA wins
ARDMORE, Pa. — Top-ranked women's amateur Rose Zhang set the tone by routing Women's British Amateur champion Louise Duncan, and Rachel Heck completed an unbeaten weekend at Merion Golf Club as the United States won the Curtis Cup for the third straight time.
The Americans had a 8 1/2-3 1/2 lead going into the eight singles matches and needed only the equivalent of two wins Sunday to secure the cup. They won seven of them for a 15 1/2-4 1/2 victory, with England's Emily Price handing Amari Avery her first loss of the weekend in the final match.
The Americans increased their series lead to 31-8-3 since the matches between female amateurs from the United States against the Great Britain & Ireland team began in 1932.
The GB&I team was trying to win on U.S. soil for the first time since 1986. There was a tie in 1994 in Tennessee that allowed GB&I to retain the cup as the reigning champions.