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Sporting Flashback: 10 years to the day from Rory claimed first US title

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US title Big moment: Rory McIlroy celebrates at Quail Hollow in 2010

US title Big moment: Rory McIlroy celebrates at Quail Hollow in 2010

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US title Big moment: Rory McIlroy celebrates at Quail Hollow in 2010

Holywood's Rory McIlroy won his first PGA Tour title at the Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte on May 2, 2010.

McIlroy had only been playing on the PGA Tour for six weeks and had started 2010 playing on the European Tour, earning two top-10 finishes, but he could not convert his form in America as he missed the cut at the Houston Open and The Masters. They came ahead of what became the biggest win of his early career as McIlroy, a professional for just three years, proved the doubters wrong.

Almost missing the cut

Despite what was to come, McIlroy was on the verge of missing his third cut in a row on the Friday afternoon. He was two shots over the cut line with three holes to play before an imperious approach from 206 yards allowed him to convert an eagle putt. "Most important shot of the year, to be honest," McIlroy said at the time. "If I don't make eagle there, I'm practicing at Ponte Vedra this weekend. I said after the 66 yesterday: 'That could have been the turning point in my season.' I think today I've confirmed that."

Making up ground

McIlroy's opening rounds of 72 and 73 had him nine shots behind leader Billy Mayfair after 36 holes before he began to find form. He struck the lowest round on the Saturday, a 66, to set the tone for what would be an exceptional Sunday. "The last two days, it seemed as if everything had just gone right," he said after winning. "You get yourself into sort of a mindset like that, and you just keep going."

The final round

McIlroy started the final round four behind leader Mayfair and ended the day 10 ahead of the American. He began with three pars before a birdie at the par-four fourth and stormed through the field, racing back to the clubhouse in just 30 - sinking a 43-foot putt on the 18th to seal victory in a course-record 62. The Ulsterman secured a four-stroke victory over Phil Mickelson as, two weeks before his 21st birthday, he became the youngest winner on the PGA Tour since Tiger Woods won in Las Vegas in 1996 aged 20 years and 10 months.

Legacy

McIlroy has since won the 2011 US Open, the PGA Championship in 2012 and 2014 and the 2014 Open. The Masters has eluded him, with his best finish coming in 2015 when he placed fourth. He has also helped Europe win four Ryder Cups while picking up the FedEx Cup and two Race to Dubai titles and he is currently ranked No.1 in the world.

Belfast Telegraph