Rory McIlroy: Northern Irishman wins £1.26m for charity in Florida skins game

McIlroy, Max Homa, Lexi Thompson and Rose Zhang talk during The Match 9 in Florida

McIlroy was up against Max Homa, Lexi Thompson and Rose Zhang The Match 9 in Florida

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy won a closest-to-the-pin tie-breaker to earn £1.26m for charity in The Match 9 skins game in the US.

The world number two was up against Max Homa and LPGA stars Lexi Thompson and Rose Zhang in the 12-hole event played under lights at The Park golf course.

After McIlroy had won three skins to accumulate £630,000, his shot at the first extra hole secured his triumph.

“It was a really cool night,” said McIlroy, 34.

“I just think [I will remember] how much fun it was, being out here with Max and Rose and Lexi and playing at such a great facility.”

After having racking up the £630,000, McIlroy announced that an unidentified friend of his was donating $500,000 (£3.94m) to bring the total remaining stakes to £1.26m as the quartet were about to play the final hole.

After McIlroy missed an eagle putt and was given the birdie, Homa drained a longer birdie putt to match him.

The four players then returned to the fairway from approximately 100 yards out for a tie-breaker.

McIlroy went first and stuck his wedge shot to just over 4 feet and none of his opponents came close to beating him.

The only other player to win a skin was Thompson at the second hole, when she sank a lengthy eagle putt to net £157,000.

At the fourth hole, the players had to select just one club to use for the entire hole and McIlroy used a 5-wood from tee to green to make par and win his first skin.

It was just McIlroy’s second time participating in The Match series after he and Tiger Woods lost to Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in the seventh edition.

It was the first occasion that the charity skins game included female competitors with Thompson joined by 20-year-old Zhang who won on her LPGA debut last June at the Mizuho Americas Open.

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