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Liguori: Rory McIlroy, The Top Player In Golf, Wins 4th Major

Rory McIlroy celebrates his one-stroke victory on the 18th green during the final round of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on August 10, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy celebrates his one-stroke victory on the 18th green during the final round of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on August 10, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

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By Ann Liguori
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What a final round at the PGA Championship!

It combined drama, intrigue and intensity; constant changes at the top of the packed leaderboard, great shot-making and an interesting scenario in the final moments in which Rory McIlroy teed off on the 18th before Phil Mickelson and Ricky Fowler had hit their second shots on the 18th, in order to finish before sundown.

In the end, McIlroy, at 16-under, beat Mickelson by one shot. The 25-year-old rallied from three shots back, with an eagle and two birdies down the stretch, to win his second straight major championship and become the third-youngest player to win four majors.

On that 18th, Mickelson almost eagled the hole, which would have tied him for the lead. But Mickelson birdied, settling for second place.

After the round, McIlroy thanked both Mickelson and Fowler for allowing him to finish before darkness set in. He finished just in time, two-putting for par on the final hole for the one-shot victory.

“It was a classy move for those guys to do that,” McIlroy said. “They could have had us standing and wait on the 18th tee while it was getting dark. It was great sportsmanship and shows the great character of those two guys and I’m glad they did it.”

Mickelson, although he looked annoyed at the time, took the high road and said it was “not a big deal either way, they had a chance to finish it and it was no big deal.”

McIlroy’s highlights included hitting a dramatic approach shot to the par-5 10th, where the ball landed eight feet from the cup. He was the only player to reach that green in two on Sunday. He sunk the eagle putt and at that point, he was one shot back. Mickelson rolled in a 15- footer on the 11th hole to grab a share of the lead at 15-under with Ricky Fowler. Then Rory drained a nine-footer for birdie on the 13th hole to regain a share of the lead at 15-under.

With Mickelson bogeying the 16th hole and Rory’s birdie on the 17th, Rory took a two-shot lead to the 18th hole and the rest, as they say, is history.

What a display of composure, fight and fine golf.

And in the end, the best player in the game came through.

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