|Rory's eagle on 10 sets up exciting finish to his second PGA Championship|
|Written by George Browning|
|Monday, 11 August 2014 07:06|
When Phil Mickelson began the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla it was on the 10th hole.
That was the same hole that now two-time PGA Champion Rory McIlroy started to make his charge in the final round on his way to a 16-under win.
McIlroy was down two strokes as he hit a perfect tee shot off the 10th tee box. He then drilled a fairway wood to about seven feet from the hole.
He made the putt for eagle look easy and found himself in a tie for the lead.
McIlroy saved par on the par 3 11th and found himself in the lead for the first time after Mickelson gave a shot back on the tough par 4 12th.
Down the stretch McIlroy was a shark in the water and didn't give anything back. He even added a birdie on the 17th hole, to stretch his lead to two strokes with just the 18th to play.
A little confusion ensued as the players began to back up on the 18th hole.
Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, who was also in the hunt, hit their tee shots with McIlroy standing their watching.
Officials allowed McIlroy to hit his tee shot in case the horn was blown to stop play, which would allow him to finish if that's what he chose to do.
Later McIlroy also hit his approach shot with Mickelson and Fowler still waiting.
Mickelson said he understood the PGA officials allowing McIlroy to play with them given the situation and McIlroy said not finishing Sunday night was never an option.
“I wanted to finish this thing tonight and get out of here,” he said.
McIlroy said coming from behind down the stretch made his second PGA championship even sweeter.
“To win it in this fashion and this style, it means a lot,” McIlroy said. “It means that I know that I can do it. I know that I can come from behind. I know that I can mix it up with the best players in the world down the stretch in a major and come out on top.”
McIlroy played the first nine holes one over par and for a moment looked as if he'd be a spectator watching either Mickelson or Fowler win the title.
The eagle putt at 10 changed all that.
McIlroy finished the tournament with two eagles, 21 birdies, 41 pars, seven bogeys and just one double bogey.
For Mickelson, it's another close call in a major championship.
He said he has played better golf than his lack of winning shows in 2014 and hopes the second-place finish in the PGA championship is the start of something big.
“I really thing this is the kind of round that can really get me off to the kind of stretch I want to have for the next five years or so,” he said.
With the second-place finish Mickelson qualified for this year's Ryder Cup team, which will be later this fall.
Fowler also qualified thanks to his performance over the weekend.
The two played great together Sunday at Valhalla and may be paired together at some point during the Ryder Cup.
All in all it was a great tournament and a great showcase for golf.
“I love coming here (Valhalla),” Mickelson said. “The course is beautiful and really rewards strong play. Plus, the people are great. The PGA has done a great job with this course and I can't imagine that they won't come back here at some point for another major championship.”