GULLANE, Scotland — Rory McIlroy birdied for a 2-under-68 win on the last two holes on Sunday in a lashing wind to win the Genesis Scottish Open, his first victory on Scottish soil, taking a lot of confidence with him last major of the year.
McIlroy was a shot behind Robert MacIntyre when he almost perfected the slope on the par-3 17th and secured the lead with a four-foot birdie putt. He then delivered what McIlroy described as his best shot of the year – a 2-iron downwind from 10 feet for a final birdie.
It was a heartbreaker for MacIntyre trying to win his National Open and he put in a top notch performance himself. MacIntyre hammered a 3-Wood out of the rough on the 18th hole at the Renaissance Club to 4 feet and pumped both fists as he fell for a 64.
It was a remarkable final lap given the harsh and unrelenting Firth of Forth winds and long looked set to give 26-year-old MacIntyre the most significant win of his young career.
Instead, it was McIlroy who played the tough back nine in 31 games and secured his first win since the Dubai Desert Classic with two clutch birdies.
The victory came at an ideal time. McIlroy heads south to Royal Liverpool for the Open Championship, where he is looking to end his nine-year losing streak in the majors. McIlroy won the claret pitcher when the Open was last played at the Royal Liverpool in 2014.
“It was such a tough day — so tough,” McIlroy said. “I’m really proud that I played the nine at 4 under par to win the tournament. I’m really proud of how I persevered. I got some great shots out on the track. It feels incredible. It’s been a long six months I think since I won in Dubai. I gave myself plenty of chances and I hope this win breaks the seal for me, especially for next week.”
McIlroy finished 15 under 265 and moved past Jon Rahm for world No. 2.
World No. 1 player Scottie Scheffler finished with a 70 and tied for third place with Byeong Hun An (70) and David Lingmerth (68). Scheffler has finished in the top five in his last seven tournaments, including two majors.
An and Lingmerth received a consolation prize by securing seats at The Open, which were awarded to the top three players not yet exempted from the exception. Last place went to Nicolai Hojgaard, 67, who will join his twin brother Rasmus at Royal Liverpool.
The Scottish crowd had been chanting MacIntyre’s name all week at the Renaissance Club, and cheered as he putt the 3-wood and birdie all the way to the 18th, one of the toughest finishing holes on the tour.
MacIntyre was so caught up in the moment that he had to hold back tears as he left the green.
“I’ll never forget it. I had to take a minute when I was 18,” he said. “If not the Open, then the Scottish Open will be at the top with the event I want to attend for the rest of my life. It’s an event I’ve dreamed of winning since watching at home and I figured today would work after I made a birdie.” 18 I thought might be right. But it shouldn’t be like that now.
“Rory McIlroy is possibly the best in the world and he showed why today.”
McIlroy gave him an equally good shot.
He was 201 yards from the mark, downwind, a perfect 3-iron for him—except McIlroy decided to swap his 3-iron for a 2-iron for the windy week.
“The 4-iron just put me on the front edge,” McIlroy said. He had to hit a 2-iron with a little cut and some upwind to let the wind fly a bit over the distance, and “it went absolutely perfect.”
“It’s probably the best shot I’ve had all year,” McIlroy said. “When you hit a shot like that, I feel like I deserve to pot the putt to finish it like that.”
The tournament was jointly sanctioned by the European Tour and the PGA Tour. McIlroy extended his lead at the Race to Dubai, although he still has work to do to catch up with Rahm and Scheffler in the FedEx Cup.