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Best-in-the-world Rory now earns an aura around the mop-top

Next level: First since Woods to win back-to-back PGA tour titles; 2nd since Nicklaus to register six before 24

Written by Reuters | Carmel | Published: September 11, 2012 12:21:39 am

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy continued his red-hot form when he cruised to his third win in four starts with a two-shot victory at the BMW Championship on Sunday that locked in the 30-man Tour Championship field.

With a glittering leaderboard featuring six major winners and four players who have held the number one ranking packed into the top 10,McIlroy carded a five-under 67 at Crooked Stick Golf Club to collect his fourth PGA Tour win of the season and second in seven days.

The mop-topped Northern Irishman finished 20 under par and will head to the Sept. 20-23 Tour Championship in Atlanta as the favourite to walk away with the $10 million bonus that will go to the FedEx Cup points leader.

“I just wanted to go out and play as best as I could,” said McIlroy. “I knew if I played to my ability that I would win events. I didn’t think that everything would happen so quickly,but I’m just on a great run at the minute and trying to keep that going for as long as possible.”

Legacy,old and new

He becomes the first golfer since Tiger Woods in 2009 to win PGA Tour events on back-to-back weeks and joins Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players since 1960 to win six PGA Tour titles before the age of 24.

With four PGA Tour wins,including a second major at the PGA Championship,McIlroy also moves into pole position to claim Player of the Year honours. “Rory was putting on a show out there,” praised Woods. “He’s doing the things he needs to do and as he said,he’s feeling very confident about his game.”

McIlroy began the day a shot back of overnight leaders Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh,but was on the move quickly with birdies at the second and fifth before topping the leaderboard to stay with back-to-back birdies at nine and 10.

The 23-year-old then pulled away from the field with two more birdies at 15 and 16 to open up a three-shot cushion with two to play.

Mickelson,who has discovered a rich vein of form in recent weeks himself,tried to keep pace by trimming McIlroy’s advantage to two with birdies on 15 and 16. But a bogey on 17 removed any suspense,allowing McIlroy a leisurely stroll up the 18th where he signed off with his only bogey of the day,a small fist pump and a winning total of 268.

Mickelson returned a two-under 70 to finish joint second with Westwood who clinched his first ticket to the Tour championship with a three-under 69.

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