Sunday didn’t start off as planned for McIlroy, who fell three shots behind the leaders early in the round. But an eagle on the 10th hole gave him the boost he needed to spring to victory.
The 10th hole is a 590-yard par 5 that few players were able to reach in two shots.
McIlroy, however, was able to use his distance off the tee to get in position to reach the green with a fairway metal.
While the shot wasn't exactly what McIlroy had envisioned, what resulted was a beautiful approach that landed short of the green and somehow rolled, despite the wet conditions, to 7 feet from the hole.
Hitting metal woods from the fairway can be difficult. Here are some tips to help you take advantage of your fairway metals on long approaches:
• Have the right equipment. Most players automatically put a 3-wood in the bag as their next logical choice of club following a driver. However, not every player generates enough clubhead speed to launch a 3-wood high enough for it to go any further than their next club. Using launch monitor technology like Trackman, you can see what your carry distance is relative to the next club in the bag. A 4-wood or 5-wood might turn out to be the optimum club to follow the driver.
• Choose your target wisely. Pin-seeking with a fairway metal isn’t always a good idea, especially if the pin is guarded by bunkers, rough or water hazards. Choose a target line that will allow the ball to roll out after hitting the ground and will keep you out of trouble if the ball lands a little short of your intended destination.
• Stick the finish. When the ball is on the ground versus a tee, our subconscious may tell us to “lift” the ball in the air, resulting in topped shots that stay on the ground. These swings also result in finishes where we hang back or end up with more weight on the back foot instead of the front. Be sure to contact the ground and finish with your weight on the front foot, allowing the loft of the club to do its job and get the ball in the air.