Belfast Telegraph

Rory McIlroy set for hero's return

Golfing superstar Rory McIlroy is set to enjoy a hero's return to the small town in Northern Ireland where his US Open dream began.

The youngest champion in a major tournament for 88 years is expected to be welcomed to Holywood, Co Down, with an open-top bus parade and thousands lining the route.

Prime Minister David Cameron led tributes to a man many have now dubbed the the "Celtic Tiger" after his record-breaking victory.

Family and friends of the 22-year-old sporting sensation, who rose from humble beginnings as the son of a barman to conquer one of the world's greatest golfing competitions, have been celebrating his victory at Holywood Golf Club.

As revellers recovered from one of the happiest hangovers of their lives, they looked forward to his return later this week and declared that this was only the beginning for the star, who they remember as a child who swung plastic clubs and dreamt of greatness.

His uncle Colm McIlroy sprayed champagne over the 18th tee at Holywood and said: "The pressure he was under was immense, the way he won it - he just took the whole field out basically, won by eight shots, broke all US Open records, the rest of them were just spectators."

Mr McIlroy added: "Graeme McDowell winning it last year and Rory winning it this year, for a wee country like this, it's incredible.

"The things that will do for youth golf will be unbelievable, it will give us such a lift."

Mr Cameron said: "He's an incredible talent and clearly has a very exciting career ahead of him."

McIlroy romped to a stunning victory at the Congressional Country Club in Maryland. He crumbled on the last day of the US Masters this year when he was on the cusp of victory, but he emphatically made up for that on Sunday night by setting a record for the US Open's lowest tournament score.

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