Rory McIlroy flirts with 59 and wins the Canadian Open by seven, but it was his old mate Graeme McDowell who stole the headlines

Canadian Open report: What happened at Hamilton Golf & Country Club?

Rory McIlroy played his very best stuff on Sunday to shoot a stunning 61 and claim a seven-shot victory over Shane Lowry and Webb Simpson.

The Northern Irishman held a share of the 54-hole lead but was a man on a mission who simply couldnโ€™t miss on Sunday.

Despite a bogey at the 16th, McIlroy was on 59 watch after this eagle at 17:

He needed a birdie at 18 to for a sub-60 round, but his approach found the greenside bunker:

From there he two-putted for a 61, but he wonโ€™t care and will head to next weekโ€™s US Open brimming with confidence.

Canadian Open leaderboard

Canadian Open report: What they said

McIlroy missed the cut at last weekโ€™s Memorial and as a result added this event to his schedule, but once heโ€™d decided to play, he was by no means just there to make up numbers and have a few practice rounds ahead of next weekโ€™s major.

He said, โ€ I feel like I play my best when I play stretches of golf. This is the second week in a row and Iโ€™m playing next week, which will be three.

โ€œPart of the reason for playing her was I wanted my game to be in good shape for Pebble Beach, but that doesnโ€™t mean this tournament doesnโ€™t mean anything. Itโ€™s a big event and it will only get bigger.โ€

When asked if he wished the US Open would be starting on Monday, he had a brilliant response:

โ€œNo, because Iโ€™ll be hungover, probably. I need a couple of days to recover.โ€

Canadian Open report: Talking point

Just last week, myself and my colleague Alex Perry were debating as to whether or not Graeme McDowell should be handed an exemption to the Open in his hometown of Portrush.

The debate is over.

G-Mac showed nerves of steel on 18 to hole a par putt that saw him take the second of three available spots at the Open on offer in Canada.

McDowell has had what could generally be described as a quiet few years on tour, with his US Open win at Pebble Beach back in 2010 still being a highlight.

Before his win on the PGA Tour earlier this season, you would have to look back to 2014 to find the last time he came out on top, a drought of five years that was unexpected from a player of his calibre.

However, weโ€™re sure that G-Mac will be grinning from ear-to-ear, all the way to Portrush, thanks to his top-10 finish this week, rounded off with a huge par putt at the last.

His performance was good enough to grab him one of three qualification spots up for grabs in Canada, just days after theย R&A confirmed that they would not be giving him an exemption.

The World No. 121 will head back to Pebble Beach next week with a huge weight lifted from his shoulders.

Joe Hughes

Tour editor covering men's golf, women's golf and anything else that involves the word golf, really. The talk is far better than the game, but the work has begun to change that.

Handicap: 20

Group bookings of four or more golfers receive 10% OFF our NCG Top 100s Tour events


Subscribe to NCG