McIlroy had his first title defense on the PGA Tour, even if he had to wait for it. He won golf’s fourth-oldest national open in 2019 at Hamilton Golf & Country Club, only for the the COVID-19 pandemic to cancel the next two editions.
Thomas pushed him to the end at St. George’s Golf & Country Club, and the tournament effectively ended on the 17th hole. McIlroy and Thomas were tied and in the rough. McIlroy hit a wedge that rolled out to tap-in range, while Thomas missed a 10-foot par putt, a two-shot swing. Thomas closed with a pair of bogeys and still shot 64.
McIlroy finished at 19-under 261 for a two-stroke victory.
“I feel like it’s getting tougher and tougher to win on the PGA Tour,” McIlroy said. “Just look at the two guys that I played with today. I went out with a lead and had to shoot 8-under par to get the job done. So the depth of talent on this tour is really, really impressive. And going up against guys like J.T. and Tony and coming out on top, that’s something to feel really good about.”
Finau holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the 18th for a 64 to finish second alone.