Rory McIlroy sends USA Ryder Cup warning after ‘little s***’ shoots 61 to win

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Rory McIlroy has backed Viktor Hovland to shine at next month’s Ryder Cup against the USA after the Norwegian produced the round of his life to win the BMW Championship on Sunday. The World No 5 did not appear to be in contention at the start of the final day but produced a course record 61 to leapfrog Matt Fitzpatrick and Scottie Sheffler to clinch an astonishing victory.

McIlroy, who finished fourth on 12 under par, was paired with Hovland for the final day and was gushing with praise for his Ryder Cup teammate after a flawless round that included 10 birdies, seven of which were on the back nine.

Speaking to reporters about Hovland after his final round at Olympia Fields, McIlroy said: “He just keeps his foot on the pedal — just isn’t scared.

“Just keeps going forward, keeps going at it. The things that people don’t realise, you get into that position, the second shot on 17, to pitch it where he pitched it right by the pin… Viktor just keeps his foot on the gas.”

Hovland’s aggressive approach paid off massively on Sunday and McIlroy believes that is that style of approach that can serve Europe well when they take on the USA at the Ryder Cup in Rome on September 29.

The Northern Irishman added: “Look, he’s had some great wins already this year. Had a great chance at the PGA Championship. He’s a world-class player, and looking forward to him being on my team for the Ryder Cup in a few weeks time.”

Hovland’s heroics were less palatable for joint overnight leader Matt Fitzpatrick who could only watch in disbelief as the Norwegian’s never-ending flurry of birdies took him into the lead, denying the Englishman a second tour win of the season.

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Speaking in his post-tournament press conference, Fitzpatrick said: “Yeah, I played great. Can’t do anything about a 61. I did just see Viktor, I called him a little sh–!”

Hovland, 25, started the day three shots adrift of Fitzpatrick and Sheffler but took matters into his own hands with a career-low nine under par 61, scooping himself £2.8m in prize money as a consequence.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “It has to be my number one [round in his career]. I remember playing a pretty special round of golf in my first year on tour – I shot seven under at Torrey Pines when it was hailing and windy and raining and that’s probably the best I’ve ever struck it throughout a round.

“But to shoot 61 and shoot 28 on the back nine at this golf course and under the circumstances, I have nothing that beats that.”

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