Rory McIlroy wins prestigious Players Championship in thrilling finish

• Northern Irishman wins ‘fifth major’ on St Patrick’s Day
• Jim Furyk one shot behind, Eddie Pepperell tied for third

This isn’t the most high profile victory of Rory McIlroy’s career but it is without doubt among the most significant. That McIlroy claimed the Players Championship the hard way somehow added an element of prestige.

A series of near misses had led to external questions regarding McIlroy’s ability or hunger, even before he turns 30. The response, pressed home with grit and composure, arrived at the PGA Tour’s marquee event. McIlroy’s golfing journey, which has already delivered so much, has another pivotal moment as he makes final preparations for another tilt at a grand slam of majors. If not the case already, Augusta National just got serious.

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