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BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland (R) celebrates his eight-stroke victory with his father Gerry McIlroy (L) on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland (R) celebrates his eight-stroke victory with his father Gerry McIlroy (L) on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Ross Kinnaird

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

David Cannon

Rory McIlroy kisses the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland

Rory McIlroy kisses the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland

Andrew Redington

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy for photographers after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy for photographers after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Rob Carr

Fans at Rory McIlroy's home club in Holywood watch their hero win the US Open

Fans at Rory McIlroy's home club in Holywood watch their hero win the US Open

Fans at Rory McIlroy's home club in Holywood watch their hero win the US Open

Fans at Rory McIlroy's home club in Holywood watch their hero win the US Open

Fans at Rory McIlroy's home club in Holywood watch their hero win the US Open

Fans at Rory McIlroy's home club in Holywood watch their hero win the US Open

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland speaks with the media after his eight-stroke during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland speaks with the media after his eight-stroke during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Andrew Redington

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his eight-stroke with caddie J.P. Fitzgerald victory on the 18th green to win during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his eight-stroke with caddie J.P. Fitzgerald victory on the 18th green to win during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

David Cannon

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

David Cannon

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

David Cannon

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

David Cannon

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green to win during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green to win during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Rob Carr

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green to win during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green to win during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Jamie Squire

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his tee shot on the second hole during the final round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his tee shot on the second hole during the final round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Andrew Redington

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks to the 18th green with his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald during the final round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks to the 18th green with his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald during the final round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Rob Carr

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland takes his putter from his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald on the 13th hole during the final round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland takes his putter from his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald on the 13th hole during the final round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Jamie Squire

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy for photographers after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy for photographers after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Chris Trotman

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

David Cannon

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Andrew Redington

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green to win during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green to win during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Jamie Squire

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks to the 18th green with his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald during the final round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks to the 18th green with his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald during the final round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Ross Kinnaird

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Golf fans cheer as Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green to win during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Golf fans cheer as Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green to win during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Chris Trotman

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches a putt on the 18th hole during the final round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches a putt on the 18th hole during the final round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Andrew Redington

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green to win during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green to win during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

David Cannon

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Andrew Redington

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Andrew Redington

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland kisses the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland kisses the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Jamie Squire

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Jamie Squire

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19:  Fans watch the play of Rory McIlroy during the final round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Fans watch the play of Rory McIlroy during the final round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Jamie Squire

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BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland (R) celebrates his eight-stroke victory with his father Gerry McIlroy (L) on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy's emphatic win in the early hours of Monday morning at the US Open course in Maryland led to fellow professionals dubbing him the next Tiger Woods after he lifted his first Major.

He has become the youngest US Open champion since Bobby Jones in 1923 and his win follows fellow Northern Ireland champion Graeme McDowell's victory a year ago.

McIlroy, 22, came to prominence in Northern Ireland at an early age.

In July 2005, shortly after turning 16, he went round Royal Portrush on the region's dramatic North Coast in a course record. He became European amateur champion the following year - it qualified him for The Open - and reached number one on the world amateur rankings.

The sportsman, from Holywood, Co Down, has won as a professional in the Dubai Desert Classic and the Quail Hollow Championship in North Carolina.

He was third at the US Open last year and third in the last two US PGA Championships.

But one of his biggest disappointments was at the US Masters in Augusta this year when he was the youngest player ever to lead the competition but his game collapsed on the final day.

His close friend McDowell, from Portrush, Co Antrim, passed the trophy to McIlroy with fulsome words of praise.

"It's just phenomenal - you run out of superlatives to describe what he's doing this week. He's decimating a field," he said.

"I've been waiting for this to happen. He's that good, there's no doubt about it.

"I first heard about him when he shot that 61 at my home course in Portrush. You hear rumours about people and good players come and go, but this kid was something a bit special."

McIlroy's masterclass was reminiscent of his boyhood idol Tiger Woods' domination of the 2000 US Open when he won by a record 15 shots at Pebble Beach.

McDowell added: "He's potentially the next Tiger Woods - he's that good. It's great to see him out there fulfilling his potential. He's been like an accident waiting to happen."

Belfast Telegraph


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