Rory’s confidence sky high

The world No 1 could not match the heights of his remarkable third-round 61 which gave him a commanding four-stroke advantage after 54 holes, but a solid three-under 69 was more than enough to secure his 11th PGA Tour title with a record winning score of 21 under.

Two birdies on the front nine atoned for a three-putt bogey at the second, and McIlroy cantered to the finish line with further gains at the 12th, 14th and 16th as he became the first two-time champion at Quail Hollow.

McIlroy will now head to London to defend his BMW PGA Championship title, and he could not have hoped for a better confidence-booster ahead of the European Tour’s flagship event.

“Everything is firing on all cylinders for me,” said McIlroy, who blitzed Anthony Kim’s previous tournament scoring record by five shots. “The golf course just sets up really well for me.”

McIlroy claimed his maiden PGA Tour title in blistering style at Quail Hollow in 2010, when he made threes at each of the last six holes in a closing 62, but he had the luxury of leading from the front this time.

“It was a more controlled run,” he added. “I feel like I’m a more controlled player these days. I’ve learned how to finish things off. I had a goal to go out there and birdie the par-fives and the two driveable par-fours.

“I knew if I made six birdies there was pretty much no chance that anybody could catch me. With my length and the way I’m driving it, it’s a big advantage around here and it showed this week.

“I did what I wanted the last few weeks, got a couple of wins, got myself up the Fedex Cup standings and solidified my positions in the rankings.”

Phil Mickelson, who described McIlroy’s performance as “impressive”, was left to rue a torrid time on the 18th over the week, finishing nine behind the champion after playing the closing hole in five over par.

Mickelson told Sky Sports 4: “I played well, played four good solid rounds – I just struggle with that darn last hole!”

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