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Stunning finish hands McIlroy home glory

Wins first Irish Open and donates winnings to the Rory Foundation

Rory McIlroy delighted the fans at The K Club as the home favourite overcame a stern challenge from Russell Knox to win the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation.

The Northern Irishman had spoken coming into the week of what a first professional win on Irish soil would mean to him and he fired a closing 69 to make it European Tour win number 13 in County Kildare.

The result is all the more impressive considering he had missed the cut at this event the last three seasons and he becomes the first home winner since Shane Lowry won as an amateur in 2009.

The four-time Major Championship winner came into the final round with a three-shot lead but was overtaken by Knox with three holes to play before two stunning approach shots gave him a birdie-par-eagle finish and a 12 under total.

That handed him a three-shot win over Knox and Bradley Dredge, who had made a final day surge of his own with a birdie-birdie finish in a 66.

McIlroy becomes the first player to win a European Tour event he has hosted and he will donate his winning prize of €666,660 to the Rory Foundation.

“I was trying to stay as relaxed as possible,” he said. “Even when Russell birded 14 and 15, which are two of the toughest holes on the course, I knew that my length would be an advantage over the last three holes.

“I told myself, ‘I’m still in this, I still have chances’. I didn’t quite think I’d end up with my three (on the 18th) but I thought I still had a chance so I stayed as patient as I possibly could. But when there’s 30,000 people roaring you on, that’s quite hard. It was absolutely incredible.

“Just looking up there and seeing all my friends and family and the support that I’ve had this week. To win in front of them, I don’t get a chance to play in front of my home fans very often so to play like that and to finish like that today, I’ll never forget it.

“I’m excited. I kept saying I’m close and I felt that I needed a week like this to kick-start something and no better place than back here in Ireland to do it.

“Hopefully this is the catapult into another great summer.”

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