Rory McIlroy Captures 2019 Players Championship
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL – Rory McIlroy finally breaks through in 2019 and emerges victorious at The Players Championship on Sunday afternoon. It was a crowded leaderboard throughout the entire tournament as TPC Sawgrass showed its teeth on Sunday with the changing weather and many players feeling the nerves. Rory had a few struggles in the final round but with birdies on 15 and 16, he was able to secure his 15th PGA Tour win and first Players trophy.
One of the biggest changes to the PGA Tour schedule in 2019 was The Players moving from May to this weekend in March. For most courses, changing dates isn’t much of a headline. However, for TPC Sawgrass, the alteration meant a totally different type of grass and an overseeding of the entire course. It also brought cooler temperatures and windier conditions which made many shots difficult to judge. This was especially true for the famous par-3 17th island green which saw 28 balls find the water in just the first 3 rounds alone!
Still without a PGA Tour win, Tommy Fleetwood began the day in the final group and one off the lead but struggled to get anything going and finished with 13-under and in a tie for 5th. Fellow European Tour player Eddie Pepperell and 3-time PGA Tour winner Jhonattan Vegas both made some noise coming down the stretch by draining a combined 119 feet worth of putts on the island green 17th alone! 48-year old Jim Furyk held the clubhouse lead at 15-under but it wasn’t enough. Furyk finished with 5 birdies and an eagle on the 2nd but his hopes of a Players victory came up one shot short. World number one Dustin Johnson had a good showing at The Players, finishing with a final round 3-under and in a tie for 6th. 2-time Players Champion Tiger Woods finished in a tie for 30th at 6-under par.
Rory began Sunday in the second-to-last group and one shot back of the lead. He started slow as he made the turn with a 1-over par 37 but still found himself with at least a share of the lead multiple times throughout the day. Rory was able to make up ground on the back nine with birdies at 11, 12, & 15. His final birdie came at the par-5 16th which gave him the outright lead heading to final two holes. After safely hitting the center of the green on 17 and making par, he only needed a par on 18 to win. He placed his driver in the center of the fairway and hit a drawing 8-iron that flirted with left edge of the green only a few feet from the water. Rory managed to 2-putt to lock up the 2019 Players Championship.
Next week, the PGA Tour heads South to Tampa, Florida for the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook.
Rory McIlroy WITB
Driver: Taylormade M5 : Mitsubishi Tensei CK 70 Flex-TX
Woods: Taylormade M5 5-Wood; Mitsubishi Tensei
Utility: Taylormade P790 UDI 2-iron Project X Rifle 6.5
Putter: Taylormade Spider X Copper
Ball: Taylormade TP5