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 couldn’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 won’t care and will head to next week’s US Open brimming with confidence.

Canadian Open leaderboard

Canadian Open report: What they said

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

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

“Part of the reason for playing her was I wanted my game to be in good shape for Pebble Beach, but that doesn’t mean this tournament doesn’t mean anything. It’s a big event and it will only get bigger.”

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

“No, because I’ll be hungover, probably. I need a couple of days to recover.”

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, we’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 the 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.