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Rory McIlroy fights back tears as he becomes golf’s world No 1 for first time since 2020 after winning CJ Cup

RORY McILROY fought back tears as he returned to the top of golf’s world rankings with a successful defence of the CJ Cup.

The Northern Irishman’s one-shot victory in South Carolina saw him become world No 1 again for the first time since July 2020.

Rory McIlroy won the CJ Open to climb back to world No 1
McIlroy was emotional after climbing back to the top of the rankings

He stormed past Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, who finished down the field in a share of 45th place.

Former world No 1s Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth were also among the also-rans.

McIlroy got choked up as he revealed how much it meant to him to take top spot once more. He said: “Getting back to No 1 means a lot.

“I have worked so hard to get myself back to this place.

“To go out with the lead and play some great golf to get the win feels awesome.

“I love the game of golf and I think that joy has shone through in the way I’ve played this year.”

McIlroy, 33, was level with fast-improving American Kurt Kitayama on 16 under par with five holes to play.

But he showed his class with a stunning hat-trick of birdies from the 14th.


That meant he could afford bogeys on 17 and 18 as he eased to a final round of 67 to finish on 17 under.

While Kitayama missed a 25-footer for birdie on the 18th that would have forced a play-off.

McIlroy, who claimed his third win of 2022, added: “The birdie on the difficult 14th was the turning point for me. I managed to separate myself after that.

“It’s a big achievement and I really want to enjoy this. I can’t wait to celebrate with my team.”

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