Rory McIlroy prevails in sudden-death playoff to win The Match

CNNRory McIlroy won the riveting ninth edition of Capital One’s The Match, outlasting Max Homa, Lexi Thompson and Rose Zhang at The Park in West Palm Beach, Florida on Monday night.

Originally scheduled to be a 12-hole, mixed-skins match, the event was forced to go into a sudden-death playoff, where McIlroy won the closest-to-the-pin competition to claim the $1.6 million prize. In total, McIlroy racked up $2.4 million after tallying six birdies in the event.

“It is pretty cool,” the Northern Irish star said after taking the win.

“I didn’t put my best effort out there the previous Match that I played, so I wanted to come here and redeem myself a little bit and it’s nice to walk away with the win.”

With the competition featuring female golfers for the first time, it was Thompson who jumped out to an early lead after making a long eagle putt on the second hole to win $200,000.

Ten-time LPGA tournament winner Thompson held the solo lead until the fourth hole, where players were only allowed to use only one club of their choosing. Opting for his 5-wood, McIlroy made par to win $200,000 and draw level with Thompson on the par-4 hole.

The four-time major champion moved into the lead on the sixth hole, capitalizing on a spectacular approach shot to sink a two-foot putt for birdie and $300,000. McIlroy further extended his lead after winning the eighth hole to add an additional $300k to his $800,000 purse.

The 34-year-old had a chance to seal the victory on the 10th hole, which was worth $400k, but could not close it out. From that point on, no golfer was able to gain ground across the next four holes, meaning the prize purse ballooned to $1.6 million, from the three rolled-over skins and an additional $500,000 donation, for the final hole.

This year was the first time female players took part.

Despite the opportunity to steal the win from McIlroy, the four golfers all made birdie on the 12th hole, forcing The Match to go into a “chip-off.”

That’s where McIlroy sealed the victory, hitting a shot from 100 yards out to within a measured four feet and two inches to win the competition and a golden Tiffany bracelet as a reward.

“I just think how much fun it was, being out here with Max [Homa] and Rose [Zhang] and Lexi [Thompson] and playing at such a great facility, all these people out here, the atmosphere, it was a really cool night,” McIlroy said after the match.

Through the nine iterations of The Match, the event has raised $41 million for charitable causes. This year’s tournament supports First Tee, a youth organization chaired by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan which aims to develop children’s social skills through golf.

Organizer TNT Sports (formerly known as Turner Sports and briefly as Warner Bros. Discovery Sports) is a division of Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), which owns CNN.