SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - World number one Rory McIlroy became the second golfer after Tiger Woods to win the World Golf Championships Cadillac Match Play as the top seed when he took down American Gary Woodland 4&2 in Sunday’s final.
McIlroy defeated Jason Dufner, Brandt Snedeker, Billy Horschel, Hideki Matsuyama, Paul Casey and Jim Furyk before disposing of Woodland to claim his 10th U.S. PGA Tour win and second WGC victory.
“It’s been a great week. Match play is a format that I’ve always enjoyed. I feel it’s a format that I do well in and I excel in,” McIlroy said.
“It’s really satisfying to get that first win stateside (this year), no matter what format it is, it’s always nice to get a trophy.
“And now we move on to next week (The Players Championship) and try to do it again.”
In control with a 4 up lead through 10 holes, McIlroy invited Woodland back into the contest by losing the 11th and 12th holes.
The American could have cut further into the Northern Irishman’s lead but missed a critical three-foot birdie putt on the 13th hole, effectively killing his chances.
A hole later Woodland three-putted the 14th green for a bogey, leaving McIlroy 3 up with four to play.
McIlroy closed it out on the 16th green when Woodland failed to make a birdie and conceded the match.
Earlier Sunday McIlroy had seen off Casey in a darkness-delayed quarter-final, making birdie on their first hole to win in 22 holes.
He then took out Furyk by making birdie on the 17th to tie up their match and moved into the final with a dramatic 44-foot eagle on the 18th green.
Woodland earned his place in the final with a 3&2 win over England’s Danny Willett.
Willett finished the day on a high note by claiming the third place match 3&2 from Furyk. It earned him enough FedEx Cup points to take up special temporary membership on the U.S. tour.
The 27-year-old Englishman, who is running second to McIlroy on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, can take an unlimited number of sponsors’ exemptions on the U.S. tour for the remainder of the year and can earn a full card for the 2015-16 season should he want to take it up.
Editing by Gene Cherry