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Rory McIlroy survives tight finish to defend title at RBC Canadian Open

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After what was a wild and “unfortunate” week for golf, Rory McIlroy survived a star-studded field in Toronto on Sunday afternoon.

McIlroy posted a final-round 62 at St. George’s Golf and Country Club to successfully defend his title and claim the RBC Canadian Open.

“It’s incredible. Playing with Tony [Finau] and JT [Justin Thomas] today, two of the top players in the world, and all of us playing the way we did,” McIlroy said on CBS. “I think the worst score was 6-under par. This is a day I’ll remember for a long, long time."

McIlroy, who has been perhaps the loudest critic of the LIV Golf Invitational Series, couldn’t help but throw in a shot at the controversial golf league’s CEO Greg Norman.

“21st PGA Tour win, one more than someone else," he said. "That gave me a little extra incentive today. Really happy to get that done."

McIlroy led nearly the entire way Sunday after he started with a share of the lead with Tony Finau. He made five birdies on the front nine, and then started his back nine with three straight birdies to get to 8-under on the day.

Yet a bogey at the par-3 13th opened the door for the rest of the field, and McIlroy lost his lead briefly at the 16th after he landed in the bunker on the par-3 and then narrowly missed his par putt. Justin Thomas saved his par, which sent them to the 17th tied up at 17-under on the week.

That’s when McIlroy’s wedge game again came in handy. McIlroy landed his approach on the 17th just 2 feet from the hole from 125 yards out, which set up a tap-in birdie to get back to 18-under.

Thomas, on the other hand, missed his par putt and dropped back down, which resulted in a two-shot swing and gave McIlroy a two-shot lead headed into the final hole. It marked Thomas’ first bogey in 34 holes.

McIlroy birdied the 18th to take his two-shot win.

The win marked the 21st of McIlroy’s career and his second this season, following his victory at The CJ Cup. He has eight top-25 finishes on the season, including a runner-up finish at The Masters and an eighth-place finish at the PGA Championship. McIlroy is fourth in the FedExCup standings.

Finau finished second with a final-round 64 thanks to a huge birdie putt to close out his day. Thomas took third at 15-under after his bogey-bogey finish.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy successfully defended his 2019 win in Toronto on Sunday, and picked up his second win of the season. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Justin Rose just misses 59

Justin Rose was in a perfect position to make PGA Tour history Sunday afternoon.

Yet at the 18th, with a 59 in sight, Rose stumbled.

Rose was sitting at 11-under par with one hole to go Sunday, which would have made him the 13th player in Tour history to shoot a 59 or better. Rose missed the final green with his approach, and then had to two-putt for bogey.

Though that bogey was disappointing, and was one of two he made in his final three holes of the day, Rose’s final round was tremendous. He made three eagles, including a wild one to start his day, and had seven birdies in his round to finish 10-under 60.

He matched an RBC Canadian Open record and tied his career-low while jumping up 15 spots on the leaderboard to grab a fourth-place finish.

While his stumble was avoidable, it’s hard to criticize the round that Rose put together — but that doesn't mean Rose isn't upset with himself.

"I'm totally disappointed, yeah," he said. "Because you know what's at stake, for sure. You're really just playing the last hole — I never shot 59 before — so it would have been a lovely footnote on the week. I don't know how much was in my control or not, but I could have made we were right in between two clubs and a decision and I went the wrong way on a decision and paid the price for it."

Justin Rose of England
Justin Rose nearly carded a 59 on Sunday at the RBC Canadian Open. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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