FedEx Cup: Rory McIlroy beats Scottie Scheffler & Sungjae Im by one stroke

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Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy became the first player to win the FedEx Cup three times after a remarkable last day at the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship.

The 33-year-old overturned Scottie Scheffler’s six-shot lead to finish one clear of the American and Sungjae Im.

Four-time major winner McIlroy carded a four-under 66 to pip the world number one and the South Korean on 21 under.

McIlroy receives $18m (£15.36m) in prize money for his win at East Lake, his fifth title of the season.

“What a week, what a day,” McIlroy told Sky Sports.

“I feel like Scottie deserves at least half of this. He’s a hell of a competitor. It was an honour to battle with him.”

Scheffler started the week with a six-shot advantage over McIlroy as players began the season-ending event on staggered scores, determined by their respective positions in the FedEx Cup standings.

After a suspension of play during Saturday’s third round because of lightning, 26-year-old Scheffler led by just one when play resumed on Sunday morning, but extended his lead to six strokes before the final round began later that day.

The pair bogeyed the first hole of their final rounds and an out-of-sorts Scheffler dropped further shots on the fourth and sixth.

In contrast, a free-flowing McIlroy responded to his opening bogey by making birdie on the third and picking up three more shots in succession from the fifth.

That set the tone for the day and McIlroy led by one by the time they got to the 18th tee as the conclusion to the PGA Tour season came down to its very last hole.

Both players hit good drives but McIlroy, having been largely imperious all day, pull-hooked his approach and could only make a par five.

Scheffler could not take advantage though, hitting the last of a series of modest bunker shots that meant the Masters champion also only parred the closing hole to sign for a ragged 73.

He shared second with rising star Im, 24, who shot 66 and had his own chances to claim the title.

“I didn’t really give myself much of a chance teeing off today. I thought six behind was going to be really tough to make up, but my good play and Scottie’s not-so-great play meant it was a ball game going into the back nine,” McIlroy added.

McIlroy has been one of the PGA Tour’s most influential presences during golf’s ongoing power struggle, and was one of the leading voices in a meeting held earlier this month by the tour’s top players to discuss the threat of LIV Golf.

Following his triumph, he said: “I believe in the game of golf, I believe in this tour in particular, I believe in the players on this tour.

“It’s the greatest place in the world to play golf, bar none, and I’ve played all over the world.

“This is an incredibly proud moment for me, but it should also be an incredibly proud moment for the PGA Tour. They have had some hard times this year, but we are getting through it and that was a spectacle out there today.

“Two of the best players in the world going head-to-head for the biggest prize on the PGA Tour, and I hope everyone at home enjoyed that.”

McIlroy said the FedEx Cup victory would help “soften the blow” after he was edged out at the 150th Open Championship, where he shared the lead after 54 holes but finished third behind Australia’s Cameron Smith.

“St Andrews was really hard for me. It was a tough one to get over,” he said.

“This softens the blow a little bit. It doesn’t make it that much easier to get over, but it’s great to end the season on a high note like this.”

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