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McIlroy seals Match Play title

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 04-05-2015 skysports.com

Getty © Provided by BSkyB Getty <p>Rory McIlroy collects the spoils of victory.</p> © Getty Images

Rory McIlroy collects the spoils of victory.

Rory McIlroy may have missed out on ringside seats for the big fight in Las Vegas, but the world No 1 made amends by giving himself an early birthday present with victory in the WGC-Cadillac Match Play in San Francisco. 

McIlroy, who turns 26 on Monday, defeated Gary Woodland 4&2 in the final at Harding Park, his third win of the day after completing victory over Paul Casey in the quarter-finals and producing a brilliant finish to get the better of Jim Furyk in the last four.

"I'm really proud with myself and how I showed a lot of character in the tournament, coming back from some deficits,” McIlroy said. “I played really solid golf.

"I've gone on a nice run in match play. I took a lot of confidence in how I played against Rickie (Fowler) at the Ryder Cup last year and just followed on in to this, so obviously delighted. A first win in the States this year so couldn't be happier."

After an excellent start with both players making birdie at the first, the final descended into a scrappy affair that saw McIlroy three-putt the second and third and Woodland bogey three in-a-row from the second.

The world No 1 finally asserted himself by getting up and down from a greenside bunker to birdie the fifth, before holing from 35 feet for another on the sixth to move three clear.

McIlroy nailed a 17-footer at the next to complete a hat-trick of gains, before narrowly missing from nine feet on the ninth to extend his advantage.

Both players then birdied the 10th after superb approach shots before McIlroy dropped a stroke at the 11th after failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker.

The world No 52 reduced his deficit further thanks to driving the green on the short par-four 12th and two-putting for birdie, with McIlroy missing from 12 feet for a half after a wayward tee shot.

Woodland looked like winning another hole after McIlroy bogeyed the 13th, only to miss from two feet for par after a superb recovery from a greenside bunker.

The American compounded that error by three-putting the 14th from long range, before making a mess of the 16th to give McIlroy the title.

Strong finish

England's Danny Willett, who lost to Woodland in the semi-finals, secured third place after beating Furyk 3&2 in the consolation match.

After a bogey from Willett at the fifth gave the fifth seed the lead, the Englishman carded his first birdie of the round at the ninth to reach the turn all square. 

Furyk dropped a shot at the 10th to trail for the first time, but pulled back level when Willett's tee shot at the next found the trees. The Englishman responded with back-to-back gains to take charge, before completing the win when Furyk conceeded at the 16th.

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