Rory McIlroy became the first three-time winner in FedExCup history after coming through a final-round tussle with world No 1 Scottie Scheffler to claim a dramatic victory at the Tour Championship.
McIlroy came into the PGA Tour’s season finale six strokes back and fell further behind with a triple-bogey on his opening hole on Thursday, although battled back to follow successive 67s with a third-round 63 to stay within six shots of Scheffler.
Scheffler’s convincing advantage evaporated after three bogeys in his opening six holes, as McIlroy pulled level with four birdies in a five-hole stretch, although the Masters champion retained at least a share of the lead until McIlroy edged ahead with three holes remaining.
The four-time major winner then closed out a four-under 66 to end the week on 21 under at East Lake Golf Club and a shot clear of both Sungjae Im and Scheffler, who stuttered to a three-over 73, with Xander Schauffele three strokes back in fourth spot.
Epic Sunday in East Lake
Scheffler resumed his third round one ahead but birdied four of his final six holes to open a six-shot advantage, while McIlroy returned early on Sunday morning to birdie the final two holes to ensure a final-round pairing with the world No 1.
Both players bogeyed the par-four first, with Scheffler three-putting from long-range to see his lead cut to five, while McIlroy responded with a birdie at the third and Im – playing in the group ahead – posting back-to-back birdies to halve Scheffler’s pre-round advantage.
Scheffler followed a bogey at the fourth by failing to get up and down from the sand to save par at the sixth, as McIlroy birdied both holes and added another from 17 feet at the seventh to lift him temporarily into a share of the lead.
A close-range birdie at the eighth was enough for Scheffler to edge back ahead until McIlroy rolled in from eight feet at the 12th to get to 20 under, with Im a shot off the pace after cancelling out a bogey at the eighth by picking up a shot at the par-three next and birdieing the 12th.
Scheffler converted from 12 feet to save par at the 12th and scrambled from the rough to avoid a bogey at the next, as McIlroy bounced back from a careless bogey at the 14th to drain a 30-footer at the next to leave the pair locked together with three to play.