McIlroy tames Garcia, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational to reclaim World No. 1 ranking

Final Round – World Golf Championships –WGC-Bridgestone Invitational –Firestone Country Club – Akron, Ohio –

It was quite a week of changes in the world golf climaxing with Rory McIlroy’s maiden World Golf Championships victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

McIlroy chased down overnight leader Sergio Garcia making four birdies in the opening five holes at Firestone Country Club in Akron to take a two-shot lead. From there, he outdueled with the Spaniard to win for the second straight tournament against the world’s best.

The win also returned McIlroy to the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking surpassing Adam Scott, who finished T-8 in Akron. Rory finished 15-under overall and two clear of Garcia – who logged his third runner-up start of the season on the PGA Tour to go along with a T-3 at The Players.

Marc Leishman, the first-round leader after a 64, was alone in third at 12-under. He was also T-5 at the Open Championship. Keegan Bradley, Justin Rose, Patrick Reed and Charl Schwartzel all ended up T-4 at 9-under. Schwartzel carded a 64 Sunday, while Reed posted a 65.

After capturing the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour in May, McIlroy ramped up his game. He backed it up with a third career major championship at the Open two weeks ago and now his WGC triumph.

The Northern Irishman’s tee ball led the way. His driving and putting – both streaky at times – are clicking on all cylinders at the moment. At 7-to-1 betting odds at heading into Akron, McIlroy will also be the favorite next week at the PGA Championship.

The news of the day belonged to Tiger Woods, who withdrew with a lower back injury on the front nine. Woods may miss the PGA and will probably now lose his shot at a captain’s pick for the U.S. Team at the Ryder Cup in September.

Other Golf News:

  • Playing a Modified Stableford scoring system, Geoff Ogilvy (+49 points) won the PGA Tour’s Barracuda Championship in Reno, Nevada. The Aussie engineered his 8th career PGA Tour victory as a 66-1 long shot.
  • Kenny Perry (23-under) made birdie at the final hole at TPC Twin Cities to capture the 3M Championship by a stroke over Bernhard Langer. Perry was an 8-1 pick heading into the event. It marked his 6th career Champions Tour title.
  • Garcia managed just one birdie on Sunday at the Firestone. His putter, which helped him log a second-round 61, failed to produce birdies in the final round.
  • Justin Hicks was runner-up to Ogilvy in Reno. Hicks shot 64 Sunday earning +18 points to zoom up the leader board. Last week in Canada, he finished third behind Tim Clark and Jim Furyk with a final-round 64.
  • Langer, who continues to lead the Charles Schwab Cup Standings, has 14 Top 10 finishes in 15 starts in 2014.