Last Updated: 13/08/12 8:40am
USPGA Day 4
Rory McIlroy won his second major championship at the age of 23 with an eight-shot victory in the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in South Carolina.
The Northern Irishman started the final round with a three-shot lead and played a superbly controlled round of major championship golf to keep the rest of the field at bay, a closing birdie completing a bogey-free 66.
McIlroy's eight-shot winning margin was a record for this championship, eclipsing the previous best held by Jack Nicklaus.
He was never headed in the final round and although Ian Poulter at one stage cut the defict to a couple of blows, this was almost as straightforward a victory as McIlroy's eight-shot triumph at last year's US Open.
If that win had not buried the ghosts of his 2011 Masters Sunday, this surely will. A four-shot lead melted away at Augusta that day, but on the Ocean Course, McIlroy was rock-solid as he won the title and in the process regained the No.1 ranking.
(US unless stated)
-13 R McIlroy (NIr)
-5 D Lynn (Eng)
-4 J Rose (Eng)
-4 C Pettersson (Swe)
-4 K Bradley
-4 I Poulter (Eng)
Click here for collated scores
His second major has arrived at 23 years and three months - a month younger than Tiger Woods was when he won his second. Suggestions that McIlroy can dominate golf for a decade or more in the way Woods did have plenty of credence now.
"It was a great round of golf - I am speechless," said McIlroy.
"The game-plan was just to play solid. I got off to a bit of a shaky start, but settled into it and I thought my putting today was phenomenal.
"Thanks dad and thanks mum - I'm sure she's watching at home. I had a good feeling at the start, but I never imagined doing this.
"It means an awful lot to look at the names on that trophy and put mine alongside them."
Poulter began the final round at one-under, six shots behind McIlroy, but he started like a train, making birdies at each of the first five holes.
The Englishman also picked up a shot at seven with a two-putt birdie on the par five, but McIlroy was not standing still either.
He made birdies at the second and third to regain his three-shot cushion and Poulter then failed to get up and down at eight to drop his first shot of the round.
McIlroy responded by making birdie at seven with a drive and a five iron - on a 541-yard hole, but Poulter rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt at 12 to get to eight-under, just two adrift.
At that stage we looked set for an enthralling duel on the back nine, only for the Poulter train to run into the buffers.
He dropped shots at 13, 14 and 15 - each time after missing the green and failing to get up and down.
Within minutes McIlroy had made a 15-foot birdie putt at 12 and with a six-shot lead, the title was virtually in the bag.
He was able to make steady pars at five of the last six holes before making a 15-foot birdie putt at 18 to wrap up what was ultimately the most comfortable of victories.
England's David Lynn, playing his first major in America, birdied the 16th and 17th to get to five under par with a closing 68 to finish second, earning a cheque for more than $800,000 and an invitation to Augusta.
Poulter slipped away to finish on four under and shared third place with defending champion Keegan Bradley, Justin Rose who roared home with a 66 and the unfortunate Swede Carl Pettersson.
Pettersson had been the closest challenger to McIlroy with a round to go, but walking off the fourth tee he was told that he had incurred a two-stroke penalty on the opening hole.
He had pushed his drive into the edge of a hazard and on the backswing for his second shot he had flicked the grass behind the ball.
His par there became a double-bogey six. To his credit he bounced back with three straight birdies but he was never able to threaten his playing partner.
McIlroy's victory ended a streak in which 16 straight majors have been won by 16 players. He is also the first 54-hole leader to win a major this year.
Players from the island of Ireland have now won six of the last 18 majors.
Rory McIlroy said he felt better for proving the doubters wrong after storming to an eight-shot victory in the USPGA Championship.
David Lynn was still trying to take in his achievement of finishing second in his first tournament in America following the USPGA.
Tiger Woods admitted his mental approach cost him as he faded out of contention over the final two rounds of the USPGA Championship.