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McIlroy Drives Away with Honda Title; Tiger Gets Second after 62
Rory McIlroy cemented his place as the new No. 1-ranked player in the world after winning the Honda Classic. The 22-year-old Northern Irishman closed with a 1-under 69 to finish at 12-under 268, two shots ahead of Tom Gillis and Tiger Woods on the Champion Course at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
In addition to supplanting Luke Donald at the top position in the World Golf Ranking, McIlroy nailed down his third victory in the U.S. and earned $1.026 million and 500 FedEx Cup points.
"It's great to win this tournament . . . it's got a long history," McIlroy said during the trophy presentation. "It was tough today - especially watching Tiger make a charge. I wanted to shoot even-par, but to shoot 1-under when you're among the leaders . . . it's good to get the job done."
McIlroy, who closed with five straight pars to maintain the lead and secure the victory, was referring to Woods, who recently became a resident of nearby Jupiter Island. Woods, the erstwhile top-ranked player, electrified the crowd while making one of his patented Sunday charges that's been missing in recent years.
Woods had a nice and symmetrical 8-under 62 that included two birdies and an eagle on each nine-hole side. He ended up at 10-under 270, earning $501,600 for his largest paycheck since the $330,667 he received in last year's Masters, where he finished fourth.
Making his 121st start on the PGA Tour, Gillis, a 43-year-old journeyman who birdied the par-5 18th, notched the highest finish in his career with the T2.
Lee Westwood also sparkled Sunday. The third-ranked Englishman fired a 7-under 63 to soar up the leaderboard into a solo fourth at 272. Right behind in fifth at 273 were reigning Masters' winner Charl Schwartzel (69) of South Africa and England's Justin Rose (70).
Rickie Fowler had a nice tournament, posting a final-round 66 to share seventh at 274 with Dicky Pride (70). Kevin Stadler, Graeme McDowell and Chris Stroud each shot 1-under 69s to share ninth at 5-under 275.
Charles Howell III had the shot of the day when he aced the 192-yard, par-3 seventh hole with a 4-iron. Despite the hole-in-one, Howell carded a 3-over 73 to end up at even-par 280 and tied for 26th.
Harris English, who began the final round only two strokes behind McIlroy, closed with a 7-over 77 to drop into a share of 18th at 278.
Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, withdrew after nine holes, citing illness.
PGA Tour officials decided Saturday evening to set an early start for the final round in anticipation of scattered thunderstorms. But the bad weather came sooner than forecast, causing a temporary cancellation of the early-morning start and a shift to its regular time at 11:30 ET.
For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboards/current/r010/.