The Northern Irishman survived a scare on the last hole, where his tee shot narrowly avoided a stream to the left of the fairway, to complete a final 68 for a total of 10 under par and a one stroke win .
The victory is McIlroy’s third at Quail Hollow and puts him back in the top 10 of the world rankings two weeks before the second major tournament of the year at another of the 32-year-old’s happy hunting grounds.
The US PGA Championship is being held at Kiawah Island for the first time since McIlroy claimed an eight-stroke victory there in 2012, and the four-time major winner will now be among the favorites.
“It’s never easy to win here,” McIlroy said on Sky Sports. “It’s been a long time since this victory in China in 2019.
“The world is a whole different place than it used to be, everyone is going through the pandemic, life has changed a lot for me as a dad.
“Winning on Mother’s Day, thinking about Erica (his wife), thinking about my mother at home. It’s just awesome.
“It’s one of my favorite places in the world and to break the drought and win here again is great.”
McIlroy entered the week in 15th place, his lowest position since November 2009, and on the back of a missed cut at the Masters last month.
After adding Pete Cowen to his coaching staff with the goal of winning a first major tournament since 2014, McIlroy rediscovered his form with an impressive putting demonstration at an event that earned him his first PGA Tour title. in 2010 and another in 2015 after a course record. 61 in the third round.
McIlroy started the second day behind American Keith Mitchell, who immediately birdied three clears in the first.
Ryder Cup star McIlroy pulled off a superb six-foot approach in the third and clocked a 24-footer for another win in the seventh.
A normal 11-foot stop on the 13th kept him in a part of the lead and McIlroy cleared himself up and down from the bunkers at the 14th and 15th for birdies.
A capricious practice at the last seemed to be costly, but from a hanging lie in the rough McIlroy hit a magnificent 8 iron at the elevated green and two putts for bogey.
Mexican Abraham Ancer was second with nine under after a closing 66, with Mitchell and Norwegian Viktor Hovland sharing third with eight under.
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